1. Demonstrate practical hospitality.
a. Simple gestures of introduction, invitation, and inclusion can pay enormous dividends.
b. Friendliness is expected; hospitality shows you care.
c. Friendliness is the first step; hospitality is the walk that welcomes people into the church.
2. Welcome without commotion.
a. A fine line exists between being friendly and being desperate.
b. Some people go overboard in welcoming an individual or family. This can be misinterpreted as being overkill for your guests if too many people make a “fuss” over them.
c. Treat first-time guests how you would want to be treated when you visit a place for the first time.
3. Employ a two-minute offense.
a. Encourage members to speak to guests before they speak to friends immediately before and after the service.
b. In a first-time guest’s mind, the most important time of a church service is the few minutes before: do they feel welcomed? and the few minutes after the service: does the church care?
4. Repair, replace, or remove the cracked mirrors.
a. The cracked mirrors may be something as simple as the frayed carpet in the foyer or the hollow sound system in the worship center. Overbearing greeters and obnoxious behavior can also be interpreted as cracked mirrors.
b. “Cracked mirrors” need to be identified and eliminated. To a first-time guest, these “cracks” are glaring.
c. “Cracked mirrors” cause newcomers to question:
– Why doesn’t someone do something about this?
– Doesn’t the church care?
– How could this church be so blind?
Adapted from 4 Keys to Welcoming Guests in the Smaller Church, by Rick Ezell, LifeWay Christian Resources, copyright 2001-2007