Archive for welcome

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.

3 Best Practices to Ensure a Welcoming Climate

churchgreeterWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Remember this story: “Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.”

First Impressions are lasting impressions.  Most groups think they are friendly.  I have literally attended Sunday School classes where no one talked to me or my wife.  I am sure they thought that somebody would do it, but nobody did it and we didn’t go back.

WHAT DO I DO?  If you want to make a ensure that your group has a welcoming climate, implement these three best practices:

  1. Enlist somebody to do it.  That somebody could be the teacher.  Ideally teachers should arrive early and be ready to greet the guests.  That somebody could be the Outreach Leader.  Since they will want to follow up, the outreach leader could serve as primary greeter for the group.  That somebody could be a “Hidden” Greeter.  Somebody needs see a new person on Sunday morning, initiates a conversation and makes sure that the guests and members are welcomed and have a great experience. Don’t assume that everybody will be friendly, enlist somebody.
  2. Encourage your group to smile and show their teeth.  Life is hard.  Greet everyone with a smile, call everyone by name (consider wearing nametags) and let everyone know that they are loved.
  3. Remember the real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction.  Train your people to speak to each other, to care about each other.  Guests are watching.

How’s the welcoming climate in your group?