Welcoming Well

I have found that in church life, the more you prepare to receive guests, the more guests you will receive.

It even happened back at Mt. Carmel Church in Monroe, NC, a congregation I served from 1990-1999. Once we put a plan in place that all first time guests would get an applie pie delivered to their homes on the afternoon of their visit, well, we immediately started getting more first time visitors! I also wrote all of our first time guests the same kind of hand-written note that I talked about in yesterday’s post. Not nearly the same volume as here in Charlotte, but they got pretty much the same note.

So here’s our process for welcoming well at Good Shepherd. It starts early . . .

  • We ask long-timers to park in the Peak Fitness/Papa John’s parking lot, saving the best parking spaces for newcomers.
  • We have greeters at every door, hopefully with a smile on their face and a name tag in their hand. Several times a year, those greeters will wear T-shirts promoting the series going on inside the church (Storyline & Heroes this year).
  • We don’t single first time guests out during the worship. Praise the Lord!
  • If our first time guests complete and turn in their connection card (along with everyone else who does it), they will have a Good Shepherd coffee mug delivered to their home on Sunday afternoon by one of our volunteer “muggers.”
  • Those same guests receive a hand written note from me (again, see yesterday’s post).
  • On the next Saturday, I make a follow up phone call, thanking them for coming and inviting them back on Sunday (which by this time is tomorrow!).
  • If they come back a second time and fill out their connection card, they receive another phone call, this one from Ron Dozier, our Pastor of Missions & Community Impact.
  • As guests continue to come, they receive another hand written welcome note, this one written by one of our note writing volunteers.
  • Email invitations to attend our First Step membership exploration class.

Now, the process does not always work out as I’ve described it. Sometimes we drop the ball. Other times our guests continue to attend but don’t complete their connection cards.

But we have a process and we have a plan.

Because what you plan for more often than not ends up happening.