Welcome to HBC
One of the exciting things at Hamilton Baptist Church is that we have new people coming almost every week. Some people come because they want to find out what we are like, some come because they are on holidays and some come just to have a weekend off. But with so many new people coming, it got me considering how is the best way to welcome new people into our church, or for that matter, any church.
I tried to search my mind for some catchy, dynamic response to this question – simple answer – much to my disappointment, I don’t seem to have such a dynamic mind as I thought! So let me quote from Thom Rainer, a well-known Church Consultant, as has put it far better than I could.
7 Things to say to church newcomers:
1. “Thank you for being here.” It’s just that basic. I have heard from numerous church guests who returned because they were simply told “thank you.”
2. “Let me help you with that.” If you see someone struggling with umbrellas, young children, purses, and other items, a gesture to hold something for them is a huge positive.
3. “Please take my seat.” I once heard this comment, which came from a member to a young family of five who were trying to find a place to sit together.
4. “Here is my email address. Please let me know if I can help in any way.” Of course, this comment must be used with discretion, but it can be a hugely positive message to a guest.
5. “Can I show you where you need to go?” Even in smaller churches, guests will not know where to find the crèche, toilets, and small group meeting areas. You can usually tell when a guest does not know where he or she is to go.
6. “Let me introduce you to ___________.” The return rate of guests is always higher if they meet other people. A church member may have the opportunity to introduce the guest to the pastor, other church staff, and other members of the church.
7. “Would you join us for lunch?” I saved this question for last for two reasons. First, the situation must obviously be appropriate before you offer the invitation. Second, I have seen this approach have the highest guest return rate of any one factor. What if your church members sought to invite different guests 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge.
I encourage all regular members to any church – welcome in newcomers, make them feel at home, welcome them as part of the family. Is that not what Jesus has done for us? Welcomed us into his family, making us feel loved and cared for, helping us to never feel lost or alone again.
Come along to Hamilton Baptist Church on Sunday (10:45am or 6:30pm), we genuinely would love to see you and welcome you into the family here!
Associate Pastor Ross Ferguson