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Beyond Greeters: Welcoming is a Church Wide Value

Beyond Greeters: Welcoming is a Church Wide Value

Posted June 12, 2014 by Jerod Clark

There is more to the company Zappos than just selling shoes.  The ecommerce giant spends a lot of time casting and sharing their core values for running a business that values customers beyond them buying something.

In a tweet, there was a great quote about customer service from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.  He said,

“Customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.”

For me, there are some easy tweaks to make for this to be relevant for churches.  Maybe something like,

“Being a welcoming greeter isn’t just the role of a volunteer group; it should be a church wide value.”

The core of the Zappos tweet and my adaptation are the same.  You will never be a welcoming, person-focused organization unless everyone is committed to it. 

Here’s why.

Anyone can represent your church at any moment. You might have the friendliest, hand shaking greeters in all the land.  But if a visitor walks into the worship center and gets a glare or unfriendly comment from someone, that reflects on your church, too.  It ruins the work done by the greeters, church staff or anyone else focused on being a welcoming church.  In fact, the bad experience will probably be more memorable than the good.  To be a truly welcoming church, everyone has to be committed. 

A true welcoming spirit can’t be faked.  Just like a company can’t fake good customer service, a church can’t pretend to be welcoming.  As a visitor, it’s easy to tell if a church cares about fostering community or if they’re more interested in being an insiders club.  Smiles, looks, questions and overall demeanor of friendly people are far different from people who are not.  As a church leader, you have to intentionally share what it means to be a congregation that embraces people.  You can’t assume everyone really knows how to be welcoming.  Equip them with practical ways to talk with people they don’t recognize.  Lace your vision with values about what it means to be a welcoming congregation.

If you’re not committing to welcoming visitors, your church will never reach its full potential.  A welcoming church is a reflection of how Jesus reached out to all sorts of people to show them how their life could be different.

Filed under: Branding, Mission and Vision, Visitor's Perspective

About the Author

Jerod Clark

Jerod joined ReFrame Media in 2007 and built Church Juice from scratch. He poured all his passion for branding, marketing, and messaging into the ministry, publishing e-books, blog posts, and speaking at conferences to help churches energize their communications. He also served as ReFrame’s in-house graphic designer. Before beginning his work at Church Juice, Jerod was a local TV news reporter. In 2016, Jerod stepped away from the ministry to pursue interests in marketing and communications on new horizons.

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Comments (1)

  • Peggy Haines
    8:51 AM
    Mon, Jun 30, 2014

    When I was a nurse, myself and others created a Welcoming Committee.  That meant that every
    new nurse was personally welcomed by us, her/his photo was taken and a little bit about them
    was posted on a door so that everyone person on the unit could get to know them better.
    We followed up in 1 week, 2, and 3 weeks to answer any questions that they had during their
    orientation.  Again in 6 mo and then a year, we evaluated how they liked working on our unit
    and how things could be better.  This process helped us to not be a training center for nurses,
    but a place where they felt they were part of a family and that people truly cared about them.
    The same could be done at churches.  Not only could there be warm greeters, but people
    ready to meet the newcomers as they left the sanctuary, chat a bit, and welcome them back.
    Then call them before the next Sunday, and ask them about themselves, and say that they
    really look forward to knowng them.  Keep 1-2 people available for every new member.  God gives us love, forgiveness, answers our prayers and gives us so much.  Certainly we can show our gradtitude to Him and do the same for others.  It will grow His church and good things will happen there.  I hope some you reading this will take this initiative and have the courage to do this.  Amen Peggy Haines, King of Kings Lutheran Church.

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