by Dean Eaton
How do you get ready to welcome newcomers into your congregation during the Christmas season ?
When visitors decide to attend your church, how will they know where you are and what days and times you will be holding services or events?
What kind of welcome will they receive, and how will they feel as they go away after attending your Christmas service(s)? Here are six tips to improve your welcome, and ideas to maximise this opportunity for sowing the gospel this Christmas.
Invest in a good-sized, attractive advertisement in the ‘Christmas services’ section of your local newspaper. If you have a website or Facebook page, place your address and service times clearly on the front pages. Within council limitations, hang some Christmas lights and signs advertising your services and events at least two weeks prior to Christmas Day.
Prepare your church buildings
Ensure the cleanliness of your buildings and grounds. If you are having multiple Chris Ensure sufficient parking for the services. Request that regular members leave the best car parks for visitors. Ensure your toilets and baby facilities are well signposted inside the building, and consider including them in a building map in any handouts and/or on a pre-service PowerPoint slide.
Prepare your welcome team
Roster on extra ushers and welcomers for your Christmas services. Train the team to smile. The body language of those they meet is what visitors will observe first and remember. Hand out breath mints to all welcome team members. Have the welcome team wear a special t-shirt or welcome badge.
Ask your members to sit up front, leaving the back rows for visitors, who are likely to arrive late and may even leave if the only seats available for them are in the front rows. You’ll still need to bear in mind, however, that visitors need to be able to see what’s going on, for example, parents like to see their children in a Christmas play.