I am an advocate for churches having greeters—most of the time.
But there are a few occasions where I think it's best for the church to have no greeters at all. Indeed, if one or a few of these situations exist, greeters in the worship services can do more harm than good.
So when should your church not have greeters? Here are seven such occasions:
1. If the greeters are not trained. Unfortunately, the majority of churches put greeters on the front lines of ministry with no training. They are thus simply not equipped to deal with guests.
2. If the greeters do not have scheduled meetings. Greeters should meet together about once a quarter. They are able to share experiences and encouragement with one another.
3. If the greeters are not naturally friendly. I've been in some churches where the greeters look like they are in pain. I've wanted to flee from them. An unfriendly greeter should be an oxymoron.
4. If they act more like ushers than greeters. A greeter is supposed to greet, to make guests feel welcome, and to direct them where they need to go. If all greeters do is hand out bulletins and find a seat for guests, they are really not greeters at all.
5. If they don't intentionally seek out guests. A well-trained and experienced greeter is able to distinguish a guest from a member. Greeters should not wait for guests to find them; they should seek out the guests.
6. If they are unwilling to walk the person to their destination. I was recently visiting someone in a hospital. I asked a nurse for directions. She offered to walk me to my destination. That one act gave me a favorable initial impression of the hospital. Part of the greeters' responsibilities is to walk the guest to the worship service, to the preschool area, or wherever they need to go.
7. If they are not knowledgeable about the church. I was recently in a church where I was to meet the executive pastor before the services. I asked a greeter where I could find him. The greeter had never heard of him. Seriously.
A good greeter is an incredible and invaluable resource for a church. A poor greeter is a terrible ambassador for a church. It would be better not to have greeters at your church than to have poor greeters.
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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