Archive for guests

Finish Well: What’s Next for A Guest

We assume that when a person visits our group and becomes a member, they are now a part of the group. It is true, they are on our ministry list but that does not make them a part of the group. Assimilation is essential. Becoming a part of a group does not end with enrollment. Here are few ideas to better assimilate members after enrollment.

Have parties: Class socials help new folks to connect. People get to know one another. They become friends when socials are a part of group-life.

Do missions together: Serving alongside others helps new folks feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Rearrange the room: People tend to sit in the same place week after week. Rearranging the room forces people to sit with those they do not know as well.

Include guests in social media conversations: Much of our communication and conversations are done on social media or text. Include guests in those conversations.

Special occasions: Celebrate with a card to be a part of those special events in life.

Worship together: Sit with guests in worship.

Introductions are important: As a leader we need to make sure everyone knows everyone. For a couple of months after the person becomes a part of the group keep introducing them to others.

Name tags: Everyone should wear them. New people are learning names. Help them.

Mike Taylor is a State Missionary for Adult Groups and Faith Development at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

5 Ways to Make A Guest Feel at Home

One of my daughter’s friends comes to our house so much that we often tell her, “you aren’t a guest anymore…you’re part of the family!” Sunday School is about helping guests become family as quickly as possible. Consider these suggestions:

1. Expect Guests to Be Present

When guests arrive, they should not observe a mad scramble for an extra chair, a copy of the literature, or a pen and registration card. Lack of expectation communicates to the guest that they are an inconvenience or disruption. Preparation says, “we were hoping you would come.”

2. Use Name Tags for Everybody

Make guest and group member name tags look alike. If you re-use member name tags, have each person handwrite their own name card into a clip-on cover so that you can easily create a similar one for guests.

3. Leave Good Seats Available

Guests should be able to find a place in the midst of the group…not set apart and not on the front row!

4. Have Group Members Introduce Guests

For many people, introducing themselves to a group is terrifying. Train group members to learn the names and something about the guest who sits beside them and make the introductions.

5. Don’t Abandon Guests After Group Time

Make sure guests know how to find their children or their way to the worship center. Invite them to sit with you for worship. Offering to share a meal with them is always a great way to help people feel at home.

David Bond is a Sunday School/Small Group consultant at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Facebook – @DavidBond
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Greeting and Meeting Guests


“Every week may be somebody’s first week. If it’s not a good week, they may not ever come back for a second week…” wrote David Francis in Great Expectations: Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth. I can testify from my personal experience in looking for a church when we moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee that David is correct. We visited five churches and three of them we never went back for a second visit.

Every group needs to be prepared to make a great first impression. If you expect new people every week, what are some things you will do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER they visit?

Before they visit, consider who’s saying “Hello” when they come? When my wife and I were looking for a church, we attended two classes at a well-known church. In both instances, only the teacher said hello.  Let me encourage you to have someone besides the teacher say hello.  One old idea is to have hidden greeters that will have this assignment.  A hidden greeter introduces themself and then introduces the guest to other members, and invites the guest to sit with them during the service.

During the visit, smile and show your teeth! Welcome everyone! Register the guest! Ask guests and members to wear a nametag! Inform the guest of Group Activities! Expect them to say YES and ask them if they want to enroll (belong to your group).

The real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction. Train your people to speak to each other and express care about each other. The guests are watching.  Offer to take guests to the Worship Service or to help them find where the preschool and children’s buildings are. Shake hands while exiting.

After the visit, follow UP! Send a text, an email, write a letter, make a phone call, meet them for coffee or dinner, and even go visit!

BTW, my wife and I ended up joining the one church that showed they really wanted us.

Mark Miller is the Group Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Not Just for Church Members

welcomebricksWHY THIS IS IMPORTANT? Do first time guests show up for Sunday School? Maybe they don’t know they’re invited?  Do your church website, Facebook page, and other publicity unintentionally imply that Sunday School is for “Members Only?”  Sunday School and adult groups are for everyone, but if you’re a new believer or didn’t grow up in church this might not be known or understood.

Sunday School, Life Groups, or whatever you call them, are the place where discipleship begins.  The setting should be an open group (anyone is invited to join at any time) with a stand-alone lesson every week.  This is different than an accountability group or a deeper learning discipleship class where one larger topic is explored often over the course of 8-12 weeks or more.

WHAT DO I DO? Because Sunday School has this format, people need to know that you don’t have to be a member to join.  Even if that is obvious by your church sign, website and other publicity, make sure that your group members know to communicate that to their friends and neighbors.

It’s been said many times, people aren’t looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends!  What better place to find friends than in the Sunday School groups!  Make sure your class is a place where people who are looking for friends can find them, even before they become a member.

Invite and expect friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. Greet them warmly. Connect with them in and beyond group time. Add them to the group care list.