The Ministry of Greeting is for Everyone
By Dan Pezet
In many churches, the approach to greeting worshipers assumes that the main focus should be on greeting guests and that seasoned church members make the best greeters. But a more expansive vision for the ministry of greeting can deepen the experience of community for regular members and newcomers.
While it is very important to greet visitors, greeting regular worshipers is just as essential. It is vital that each person be greeted as the body of Christ gathers together. The welcome of a greeter sets a tone of love. It reminds people that they are entering a special time of worship where they will experience God and God’s type of love. If someone had a difficult week, a warm greeting reminds them they are entering a place where they will be treated differently than the way the world treats them. A warm greeting is a way of saying to each person: “You belong here, and we are glad that you do.” After all, everyone is important to the body of Christ. We must not overlook the need to welcome long-time worshipers because they do not require the assistance of an usher or greeter.
And asking newcomers to serve as greeters is a great way to give someone new the opportunity to meet new people. It is a job that does not require much training, and almost anyone can do it. It involves newcomers in the life of your church quickly and gives them ownership of the church’s mission from the very beginning. Pair the newcomer with someone that has been around a while, and it’s sure to work.
It’s amazing how receptive people are to being called into service instantly. Instead of being intimidated, this helps them establish relationships and a sense of community with the congregation. I recently invited someone to be a greeter who had been coming to my church for years but had never joined the church. He was glad to do it, and a few weeks later, he and his wife joined the church! In addition, the regular crowd loves seeing him at the door on Sunday mornings.
Expanding the logic of greeting builds community and forges deeper connections with the body of Christ for long-time members and newcomers alike.
Dan Pezet (firstname.lastname@example.org) is pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Opelika, Alabama. He blogs at www.churchandtea.com.
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