You only get one chance to make a first impression! Whether your church is large, with the latest technology and tremendous resources at your disposal, or small and resource-challenged, the following principles are some you can employ to turn first impressions into lasting impressions.
1. Make sure your Welcome Center is clean, uncluttered, and organized.
2. Add fresh flowers for a friendly touch.
3. Provide doughnuts and coffee at the Welcome Center. Offer healthy alternatives for children and preschoolers (snack-size bags of O-shaped cereal, crackers, cereal bars, juice, or water). (ed. note: KFBC provides morning refreshments in the Fireside Lobby.)
4. The Welcome Center staff should be friendly, personable, intentionally hospitable Christians who smile easily and often!
5. All greeters should be familiar with the policies and procedures established by the church for Preschool and Children’s Divisions.
6. Be available to greet members and guests at least 20 minutes before the session or service begins.
7. Provide name tags for greeters. (ed. note: KFBC provides tags for our greeters!)
8. Warmly greet members and guests alike. Do not neglect greeting children who attend regularly. Enthusiastically let them know you look forward to seeing them each week.
9. Kneel to the eye level of children and greet them first. Then introduce yourself to the parents/guardians and welcome them.
10. Secure essential information (name, address, phone, and birthdays) for each family member. Complete an information card for your guests. Parents of preschoolers may have their hands full with belongings and children! (ed. note: KFBC uses a Connection Card for this purpose, available at the Welcome Center and in pew racks.)
11. Prepare a security card/pager for parents. Briefly explain your church’s security procedures so parents will feel comfortable with the system.
12. As you walk the family to the child’s room (taking the youngest first), talk about your preschool or children’s policy asking parents to remain outside the door when leaving or picking up their child. Explain that this ensures the safety and security of every child in your care and allows Bible teaching to continue uninterrupted.
13. Introduce the visiting child to the teacher/director at the classroom door.
14. Do not point the way – escort guests to their Bible study classes and/or worship center. Provide a map, or tell parents how to get back to the children’s rooms.
15. Provide a welcome gift for guests. An attractive bag could contain candy, a small gift, a free ticket to family night meal, a brochure about your church, and a ParentLife magazine. (ed. note: KFBC provides a first-time-visitor welcome bag, available at the Welcome Center.)
16. Establish a follow-up plan to connect with guests. Share information gathered at the Welcome Center with teachers and directors. A prompt contact from age-group teachers and a letter from the pastor may have eternal significance!
When thinking of the Welcome Center of your church, remember the facility is not nearly as important as the people visiting your church. Be a Romans 12:13 church and “pursue hospitality” to everyone God sends your way.
LifeWay Christian Resources