Ways to Welcome Worship Guests Warmly

  • Greet guests when they first arrive in the parking lot.
  • Greet guests as they arrive at the door, saying “Good to see you. Glad you are here.” Do not ask for their names as many guests are cautious and prefer anonymity. The larger the church, the more this is true.
  • Clearly mark the rest rooms, nursery, and worship rooms. In a large building with a complicated layout, have greeters stand at the intersection of hallways ready to escort guests who are unsure about finding their way.
  • Find a way to acknowledge and welcome guests in worship without singling them out or embarrassing them. In many communities, guests prefer to be anonymous so do not ask them to stand and introduce themselves.
  • Have an easy and readily available method for worship guests who wish to give you their name and contact information.
  • Practice the “Circle of Ten.” Encourage church leaders to greet everyone personally — member or guest— who may sit within ten feet of them on Sunday.
  • Know that guests typically leave the building within three minutes after the service. Encourage church leaders to follow the “Rule of Three,” devoting the first three minutes after the benediction to speaking with those they do not know before speaking to family and friends.

These ideas are excerpted from the Lewis Center’s 50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance prepared by Dr. Crossman.


About Author

Bob Crossman is a New Church Strategist with Path One, General Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Church. He is the author of New Church Handbook: Nuts & Bolts for Planting New Churches in the Wesleyan Tradition.

Be the Welcoming Church cover image of a smiling person warming embracing anotherLewis Center video tool kit resource
Be the Welcoming Church

Learn how your church can make visitors feel truly welcome and comfortable!

The Be the Welcoming Church Video Tool Kit will help you develop a congregation-wide ethos of hospitality and institute best practices for greeting newcomers, making them feel at home, and encouraging them to return. The resource includes engaging videos, a Study and Discussion Guide, and more. Be the Welcoming Church may be used for hospitality training or in adult classes or groups. more. Learn more and watch introductory videos now.