Recently, I read this helpful list for church members as we welcome guests. I hope it is helpful to you as well.

  • Every church member is a host and not a guest. Making visitors feel welcome is primarily the responsibility of members, not the nebulous “church.”
  • The most important person for a visitor to talk to in order to feel at home in a new church is you. It is not the pastor, or the greeter, but a regular attender. Eshleman says “One of the most impressive gestures we can extend to first time visitors is for people with no official position to take the initiative and welcome them.”
  • Treat first time visitors as guests of God, not strangers.
  • Smile at everyone.
  • Look people in the eye and smile.
  • Take the initiative, don’t wait for visitors to initiate conversation with you.
  • Learn people’s names and remember them.
  • Use [only] appropriate and allowed Touch such as a hand shake or a gentle pat on the back.
  • Ask questions and learn about your guests. It is better to express interest in them than it is to try to “sell” your church.
  • Listening is a very effective way to show love.
  • Greet children at their level.
  • Let children be children. Yes, families love children’s church and child care. We also love it when you
  • allow us to decide if our children should remain with us in worship. And even more, when you love
  • our kids as kids (crying, playing, singing!) and don’t expect them to be grown-ups.
  • Invite visitors to join you at something, anything! Invite them to today’s fellowship meal, next Sunday’s Christian Education hour, or to a restaurant for some one on one time.
  • Never let new people sit alone. Eschelman says, “New people should never have to sit alone. Take initiative and go to them without delay.”
  • Help visitors find seating that suits their families needs.
  • Help first time visitors by being their tour guide and helping them find worship resources. Visiting a new church is like a cross-cultural experience, even for those of us who have visited dozens of other churches.
  • Invite people to fill out your church’s visitor registration card or information.
  • Tell people you’re glad they are here.
  • Pray for them throughout your week.
  • Be yourself! You are loving! You have a good thing going! You have the capacity to love more people, and to love more deeply. Eschelman says, “Practice making people feel special, and what you give to others will be returned to you.”

From: Marty Troyer’s blogpost entitled: “20 Ways How to Make Someone Feel Welcome in Church” This list is adapted from the book Now Go Forward by J. David Eschelman