I recently took a team from my church to visit one of the burgeoning “mega churches” in the area called LifePoint Church. I thought it’d be nice for us to gain a little perspective in how “we” do things in our church, and see how successful churches do “their” thing.
As I pulled into the church we were directed by volunteers on the next space available in the parking lot. The church is located in a facility that used to house a Winn-Dixie, so the parking lot is quite large. As we neared the doors there was a “greeter” guy about 10 feet from the entrance of the door. He reminded of the guys that stand by the entrance to the Apple Stores. Always some cool-looking dude. Not obtrusive, yet aware of your presence. He didn’t try to shake my hand. In fact, his hands were coupled together behind his back in a relaxed, leaning slightly back kind-of-way.
I walked in past him as he made direct eye contact with me. I was wondering what he would say to me. How would I be greeted? What witty greeting do mega churches use?
That’s all he said. I was feeling somewhat disappointed that he didn’t share something more profound or unique. When I walked in a little more I came in contact with the “second wave” of greeters. These guys were pretty much directly in my path. They smiled, shook my hands and said, “Welcome to LifePoint! We’re glad you’re here!” I felt that they had redeemed themselves by this point, at which point I began to understand their greeting strategy.
One guy outside giving a simple and quick greeting as people come in.
A couple of people on the inside, about ten feet from the entrance and they gave me a more complete greeting. From there, I noticed several people sprinkled through out, mingling with people, yet ready to help.
The way that I knew that they were official greeters is because they were all wearing a t-shirt that said, “Got Questions, Ask Me?” The phrase was written vertically across a section of the shirt, having been written in a distressed, alternative-looking font that I thought looked quite edgy.
I can’t say that I loved the worship service, or even the sermon that was presented, but I left that church service being very impressed by the intentionality of their hospitality teams. You could tell that they were expecting guests.
There were teams of people willing to help you check-in your kids into their children’s church programs. There were tables with food and drinks to ease your first-time jitters. There were signs that said “Welcome First Time Guests.” Everything about that place oozed intentionality and excellence in how they treat first time guests.
One of my leaders told me later as we debriefed in his car after the service-“If I was a first time guest, I would end up joining this church.”
I think his reaction speaks for itself.
So what are you doing to make people feel welcome when they visit your church? Are there certain things that you do or say? Certain things that you avoid doing or saying?