I’ve always heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. But did you know that research shows people decide whether they will visit a church again in the first nine minutes they are there?
Last week we focused on our Sunday morning parking lot greeters — the very first people visitors and members come into contact with when they arrive. This week I want to celebrate the warm welcome and big smiles that greet people as they enter the church, provide information in the Welcome Center, and offer help and guidance at our two Hospitality Carts. And much like our parking lot greeters, these front-line Welcoming Ministries volunteers will be the first to tell you that they enjoy extending their warm welcomes just as much as we all love receiving them!
Think back to the last time you visited someplace for the first time. Remember that nervous feeling as you tried to figure out where to park, which door to go in, and how to find what you’re looking for once inside? Did you allow enough time to get lost? Think about the size of this church to a first-time visitor. It can be overwhelming!
Having people standing there in various locations as visitors (and members!) move from the parking lot to the church itself — smiling and greeting us warmly as we approach each new area — goes such a long way toward making us feel welcome and at ease. This week I celebrate this special comfort we extend through our friendly Welcoming Ministries volunteers at the entrances and inside the church itself. Each Sunday morning they arrive to welcome everyone and answer questions like, “Where’s the Children’s Area?” or “What time does the Good Neighbors class start?” All of these Welcoming Ministries opportunities — from our parking lot greeters, to door greeters, to Hospitality Cart greeters and Welcome Center volunteers — are part of that crucial nine-minute threshold. Kudos to all our front-line Welcoming Ministries volunteers who are always there to help encourage our visitors to come back!
Virginia Young, one of our west door greeters, sums it up this way: “I volunteer at the door prior to the early service because I get to see lots of smiling faces and have the opportunity to watch kids grow. Sometimes they tell me how much they like a special outfit they are wearing. I’ve been invited to attend various Sunday school classes, and have invited ladies to visit and hopefully join the Tapestry class. My circle of friends has definitely been increased by meeting so many while I have the honor of welcoming them and opening the door for them to enter our church.”
Would you be interested in being a front-line greeter on Sundays? Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 817/339-2403 to learn more about this bustling new ministry. I look forward to hearing from you!
Lisa Helm is the Director of Welcoming Ministries, a new ministry devoted to making sure all who enter our campus feel welcome, safe, and cared for by our Church — on Sundays and beyond!
Who’s hosting in the garden this Sunday?
What a wonderful surprise it was to see the purple apron-clad Good Neighbors Sunday school class (yes, they have class aprons!) hosting in the Garden last week. This Sunday, the United Methodist Women (UMW) Elizabeth Circle will be hosting our Garden reception. So make sure to stop by, grab a cup of coffee, and take the opportunity to visit with your friends!
Please contact me if your group would like to host in the Garden on Sunday! Give me a call at 817/339-2403 or email me (email@example.com).