Every week you have families arriving to go to church. They walk through the main doors of your building and follow their same path they usually take to "their" seat.

I regularly do church mystery visits in order to get an impartial feeling for a congregation. I attend each Sunday service, and I'm surprised about my compulsion to sit in the same seat for different service times. We love routine.

Our regular attenders also love routine, as well as the church staff. Our greeters/ushers fall into a regular routine, too. This is your comfortable church world.

Entering this routine are your visitors. People who don't know the routine and feel very out of place, while everything seems totally different. That's why we have greeters — to make the visitors feel welcome in your world.

Be careful that your greeters don't appear to be conscripted volunteers acting overly friendly — where they're standing in a line at the main doors looking like "paid" help. This overwhelms visitors and feels awkward breaking through the welcoming barrier. It's better for your greeters to be in various areas of the church and feeling more organic.

When greeters feel like they're everywhere, more congregants will mimic them. This is all a good thing. The whole church needs to be trained to be greeters, breaking out of their routine and truly promoting an authentic community of believers. Connectors and greeters.

Here are church greeter tips that must be trained:

  • Greet everyone equally but observe those who are out of their routine. They are the people who need assistance, guidance and love.
  • Be helpful but not overbearing. This balance must be achieved. Training the ability to read reactions is difficult. Watch those who do it well and create a training video and practice scenarios.
  • Break out of the greeter's routine. Greeters greet. They say hi and shake hands. Greeters tend to get into a habit of saying the same things and doing the same actions without treating everyone as an individual. Authentic welcome is critical.
  • Be spiritually sensitive. In a department store, greeters who genuinely welcome will get people asking them directions. Great church greeters are more than welcomers, they're sensitive to the spiritual needs of every person they come in contact with. Sure, they won't be able to help everyone, but they must know who can — or the process that's in place for a seamless hand-off.

Church greeters are essential in the life of your church. They're the face of your ministry and therefore need to be taught properly how to make everyone feel welcomed and feel comfortable learning the regular routines of your church.