Saturday, November 9, 2013

When the Pastor Says, "Greet the people around you..."

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the House of the Lord!".
Psalm 122:1

We've learned a few things in the past year and a half about being the newbies. Not the least of which is how to better handle the greeting time at church. When the pastor says, "Let's all take a moment to greet the people around you and tell them you are glad they are here today", I handle this much differently than I did before.

A simple "Good morning." doesn't cut it, Church Member.
That's what you say to people you never expect to see again.
Say, "Good morning", by all means, but there needs to be more.

Introduce yourself. "Good morning, I'm Melissa." Hopefully, the other person will say his or her name. If not, ask.
{pinterest pic}
Repeat the person's name. This is key. Say it back to them. "Mark and Melissa? I'm so glad to meet you."

Ask if he or she is a member of your church. If you have multiple services or a large church, you may not know if this person is a regular. So ask. Plus, this gives you another opportunity to say her name back to her. "Melissa, is this your first time at BCF or is this home to you?"
I did this to people even when it was my first time to visit. I would ask them if this was their home church, if it was, they would inquire the same of me. When I would say, "No, this is our first time here", it usually created a lightbulb moment for them to step up the game and be a little more welcoming. *smiling*

One of my favorite couples at one of our favorite churches ever, walked right up to us and said, "Are y'all new here or do you come here every week?" I was in love. In. love.

Keep talking. I am serious. This is not just for the sanguines. Ask some questions. If the person or family is new, ask "Do you know any one here? Are you familiar with the building? Do y'all know where the bathroom is and whatnot? Did you get a cup of coffee?" It doesn't have to be formal, just think of the questions you have when you walk in to a new building and help them find the nearest exit just in case there is a guest speaker that goes a little whackadoo. I kid. But, really. Help them out.
If they aren't new, you can still get to know them. "Now, Melissa, are you involved in a community group? Which one? How long have y'all been at BCF?" That sort of thing. Be genuinely interested.

Write their names down. When you turn around, type those names in your phone or write them in your little notepad or on the bulletin or something. Then, at the end of the service, provided they didn't bolt out the nearest exit-which you told them about, you super-cool church goer!- you can say, "Mark, Melissa, I am so glad y'all came today! I hope I'll get to see y'all again."

For Extra Credit- Walk with them to pick up kids in the Kid's Area or Student Area for more chat time. Take them over to the ministry tables or personally introduce the family to the pastor. Dang, invite them to go get chips & salsa with you! There's not really extra credit. It's just an idea.

What are some ways you handle the greeting time?


  1. I LOVE this!!! I love you Eugene you Genius!!! Hope lots and lots of church people read this and get this!!! It means ... I care about you, your story, your family, what brought you here and whether or not you come back again. You matter!!!!

  2. Hi Melissa! I have a question and was wondering if I could email it to you...but I can't find your email address anywhere??