BEING GOOD HOSTS FOR EASTER
This coming Sunday is EASTER SUNDAY. This is a Sunday that for many churches sees a higher-than-usual number of GUESTS in attendance, along with what some call “C & E” members (Christmas and Easter attenders). Regular attenders have habits. They like to sit on the same side of the Sanctuary, often in the same pews. They have favorite parking spots, often closest to the entrance they prefer to use each week. Normally, none of this matters; but on a Sunday when different and perhaps newer people “invade” our quiet, spiritual abode, we can get our feelings hurt or Satan will allow resentment to build within.
Of all Sundays (but even on every Sunday), we need to let these things go by us, and not settle into our hearts.
The first thing I hope to impress upon you is this: No matter the circumstance, no matter the reason, our “GUESTS” are gifts of God to us. They’re here because God has brought them to us. When I am preaching, I am cognizant of the fact that this one sermon may be the only Gospel they hear for a while…possibly, ever. I pray that God would guide my words and my delivery to be effective in allowing them to hear what he has to say to them. I pray that nothing I do or say gets in the way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So…that car that just took your favorite parking spot? Give thanks to God they’re with us today. And…those people, who just sat in your favorite seat in the Sanctuary, graciously greet them with sincere love, because God placed them there!
Believe it or not: There exists research that gives us “clues” in how to be good hosts and hostesses for the Lord when it comes to our GUESTS (this is from the “Conversations on Welcoming” presentations most of you didn’t come to):
“Rule of Five Touches” – GUESTS want to meet and be greeted by a minimum of five people who not only say “Good morning,” but engage in conversation with people who will accept them and welcome them. If you see someone, say something to them! People want to be acknowledged and affirmed.
“Ten Minute Warning” – Most people make the decision whether to return or not to a church in the first ten minutes that they’re on the campus. The pastor is robing, the choir is warming up; the people most likely to positively influence people are walking in from the parking lot, standing around in the gathering area, or sitting in the pews in front, in back, or to the side of these GUESTS. If first-time GUESTS are not acknowledged, affirmed, and engaged in some fashion, they will not be back.
Here are a couple of things I’m asking the Resurrection folk to keep in mind, this Sunday (but, really, every Sunday) about our GUESTS:
- Before people enter the church building, they’re looking around to see what the campus and the people are like. A warm smile and a firm handshake will go a long way to make them feel welcome!
- If you are serving as an USHER or a GREETER, be relational – that is, look at people, introduce yourself to them, engage them in a warm and welcoming manner. Don’t be hurried into simply shoving worship folders into their hands.
- Be a neighborly “pew partner” to our GUESTS, introducing yourself and getting to know them. A couple of things you could say:
- “Thank you for being here, today.”
- “Let me help you with that” (if they’re trying to juggle kids and stuff).
- “Please take my seat” (if a family is trying to sit together).
- “Can I show you where to go?”
- “Let me introduce you to _________” (another member or someone in similar circumstance that you know).
Just remember: You only get one chance to make a good, first impression. Let’s make Resurrection a church that people will want to come back to and belong to, starting this Sunday!