It sounds simplistic, but recruit for your Welcoming team those people in your congregation who are great with people; those who are extroverts and can deal well with a variety of people. Remember there is a difference between a greeter, who is stationary at one door and changes every week, and a “Welcomer or Connector” who is mobile, and is trained to deal with those who are first time guests to the church.
Every church is different but here are some factors to consider:
The primary task of Welcomers is to connect the unattached guest (someone who has come by his/her self) to people in the congregation.
This begins by discovering if the person is new or not. The best way to determine this is to simply ask: “I don’t think we have met before” (rather than “are you new?”) It is important to “read” the new person. Some folk want to dive right into a church and meet lots of people on the first visit, while others want to remain anonymous and sit in the back pew for a few weeks. The appropriate action by the Welcomer depends on understanding the needs of the Guest. We want people to feel welcomed but not assaulted.
After the greeting, the Welcomer may do some of the following:
Again, all of the above are determined by the Welcomer’s understanding the needs of the Guest and acting accordingly. Such hospitality is more of an art form then it is an exact science.
Research shows that someone coming to our church for the first time makes up his/her mind in the first 4-8 minutes if they are coming back. Welcomers play a key role in those important first minutes.
May those of you with the gift of Hospitality use this gift well to make room for the first time Guest.