We need to be mindful that we have guests in our worship services.

As our western culture races towards a post-Christian status, many guests will have no context for what they’re about to see, hear, and experience inside your church. While some of that is good (we want lost people to experience God in a way they never have before) there are elements of your service that may be confusing. However, they don’t have to be confusing if we just put a little thought into them. Here are some tips for making a guest friendly experience that doesn’t remove the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your church.

Before the Service

Lobby Hosts

Train volunteers in your lobby to keep an eye out for body language that could infer someone is new to the church. Telltale signs are darting eyes, looking around at signs, moving slowly and stopping after entering the building. Engaging those people with the question: “Hi I’m ______. How long have you been attending church here?” is a great way to find out if they’re new without being embarrassed if you just haven’t met them before today.

Walk people to where they need to go

Years ago, The Home Depot had a policy that employees had to walk a customer to the aisle that contained the product they were looking for. They couldn’t just point and say “Nails are in aisle 19.” If your guest has children, lobby hosts should walk them to the children’s check-in area and then back to where they need to go for the Welcome Center, coffee or auditorium.

Give parents information about the kids’ ministry

Have a simple brochure ready for parents telling them what to expect out of the Children’s Ministry. Include information about safety and security, cleanliness, allergens, volunteer qualifications, and how they’ll be reached if there is an issue.

Connect Cards

Time permitting, have guests fill out a connect card in advance of the service and give them their free gift from the Welcome Center. Remember, getting someone’s contact information is critical for later steps in your Guest Ministry. Don’t miss this! Find Connect Cards Here

During the Service

Introduce yourself

Everyone who speaks on stage should introduce themselves. Say your name and what you do at the church. This removes confusion about who is doing what, and what to expect out of them.

Connect Cards

Place connect cards in every bulletin or in every seat back pocket and ask guests to fill them out and place them in the offering or take them to your Welcome Center after service.

Gift Bags

If your church plans on using a gift bag (you should) then have whoever is doing the announcements show the bag and what comes in it. Generate some excitement within people for wanting to get the free item. Let members know that if they bring a guest, they get a gift bag too! Find Gift Bags Here

Greeting time

If you have a greeting time in your services, don’t just ask people to shake hands, ask them to share their name with others and introduce any guests they brought with them. It’s short and quick, but everyone loves hearing their name out loud. Take advantage of this human tendency to help a guest feel welcomed.

Closing thoughts

As your service ends, remind guests to turn in their connect card at the Welcome Center for the free gift, and also remind members to invite people to join them next week.

These 9 simple things don’t interfere with anointed worship or powerful preaching, but they do take some of the guess work out of the guest experience, and they help guests feel welcome and desired during your service. What other things can your church do to help guests feel comfortable without compromising your message or worship?