The Covid protocols for distancing, masking, and sanitizing are relaxing quickly. Barring any resurgence of the pandemic, live, in-person worship is quickly being re-instituted.
As we slowly get back together, we’re finding people are hungry to gather again in worship and other important gatherings.
One glaring weakness of the pre-Covid church was the lack of Hospitality at Sunday Worship (And we know it affected other activities as well.)
If you are to retain new worshippers, use this quick checklist to measure your Radical Hospitality and then do something about it!
Some steps are easy to do, and others will take some planning.
But ALL of these steps are worth doing!
(NOTE: Make sure all your leaders get this list as well!)
CONGREGATION & LEADERS ATTITUDE:
- Have you cultivated an awareness that we are living in the Good News of the “Realm/Kingdom of God” .... “Heaven on Earth”? Bring that mindset to worship, by inviting the congregation, the ministers, the leaders to "see with God's Realm in their eyes. We are truly on Holy Ground. (Mark 1:14-15 et al.)
- Have you all explored and started to act like “Citizens of Heaven?” (Phil 3:20)
- Are you still expecting to attract “Visitors” and “Guests” instead of receiving “First Time Worshippers?” (If so, you have returned to the 1960’s-70’s and need to adjust your expectations.)
- Have you trained Greeters, Ushers, and a good number of regular worshippers in the steps to being “Extravagantly Hospitable?” (For Example: Do longtime worshippers sit in the middle of the pews? Do they introduce themselves to strangers?)
FACILITIES & INFORMATION:
- Are all the bathrooms and the parking lots clean and attractive? Is your campus signage "fresh", clean and easy to read?
- Are your Website, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Yelp pages attractive and up to date regarding Church activities? (These “Front doors” now are accessed by 99% of your first-time worshippers BEFORE they arrive.)
- Do you have current well-designed flyers and newsletters ready to hand out?
- Still using a “Guest Book” for sign in information? (That's another step back to the 1960’s) Individual registration cards in bulletins encourage a greater success rate. Plus have everyone wear the same message: “Hi, I’m_____”. End the use of any “Visitor” and or “Member” distinction. Bonus points for a Church Registration App with a “QR” code in the bulletin to guide their cell phones to it.
WORSHIP “SERVICES” for New Worshippers
- Have the pastor ready early and personally greet and acknowledgenew worshippers as well as give a general welcome from the chancel. (And please don't make them stand up and therefore stand out?
- Are your announcements printed and then only referred to, not boringly read or repeated? (Most announcements only speak to a few people.) Only the most general and most urgent need be spoken
- Areall worship responses printed and/or projected, especially familiar, “insider” responses (like the Lord’s Prayer)?
- Do you have a “Connections Greeter”?" ... A person who, after the service, stands near the Pastor to immediately speak with new worshippers after the pastor. This leads to finding out more about them ...and then helps in introducing them IMMEDIATELY to others around with the same interests.
CHILDREN & FAMILIES:
- Are you prepared for children with individual Pew Activity packets,a pastor's “Children’s time” with Parents invited as well? Do you have take-home Children’s faith activities with your church name and website on them?
- Is there a clean and well stocked Cry room/Nursery area? Perhaps a “Quiet play” area WITHIN the sanctuaryfor Parents and toddlers? Do you give families a tour if they come in early enough?
- Are you prepared for Covid Sensitive families? Do you encourage Covid-safe practices even now to reassure their sense of safety in your congregation? Masks, Antiseptic protocols, Social Distancing?
- Have you given your Worship space and ALL Church facilities a critical EYE with a New Worshipper’s attention to detail? And then did you IMMEDIATELY CHANGE anything that is shabby, ignored, piled up or ill-thought out?
Please goto www.agapejourneys.com for more details about each of these ideas.