Archives for : Welcoming Visitors



Most pastors and ministry leaders say they have a desire for their churches to be healthy, to grow, and for their people to be properly cared for. How do we do all of that? If the pastor is the only one who cares for all of the flock that model simply will not scale! A “pastor’s heart” is a good thing but it can also lead to unsustainable expectations and burn out. This is especially true if the pastor is a people pleaser.

There are solutions to the problems we face if we will consider structuring things differently. In Lasting Impact, by Carey Nieuwhof, He says, “Sometimes things aren’t as mysterious as we make them out to be!” Case in point, Moses! The children of Israel were now in the wilderness and Moses was trying as best he could to meet all of their needs. Everyone was coming to him as the man of God to solve their problems.

Then Moses’ father-in-law Jethro says to him, “What you’re doing is not good. You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone.” The size of any group does have an impact upon how you can minister to the needs of the people who belong to it. There is a difference between immediate family, extended family, and a gathering of family.

There is principle known as the “Rule of 70” which says that no matter what size your church is you can really only know 70 people personally. That is the number of an extended family. When you reach that size and grow past that size things have to change. When a church grows larger than 70 new people can no longer just walk in and make new friends. The extended family’s relational connectors are full!

Churches 70 or larger must (smaller can also) have greeters and connectors who help those who visit to meet the family and engage with them. More intentionality is needed now more than ever. In stagnant churches the greeters think their job is to welcome the regular members and that is part of it. In vibrant growing churches, the greeters see their first priority as introducing themselves to newcomers and helping them get connected to the family.

If we want to continue to add people to our church family then we must realize that Sunday morning is not just about connecting with our friends but also, and more importantly, ministering to newcomers. Growing and getting larger requires adjustments and building ministry teams to take care of and shepherd those God sends our way. This does mean that you have to structure bigger if you want to grow bigger.

Wait a minute, is this all about how “big” we get? Absolutely not! It is about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we can. Quoting from Carey Nieuwhof again, “We’re leading people to Jesus, not to ourselves or to our awesome church. Keeping the focus on Christ ensures that genuine life change happens and lasts.” The mission of the church has never changed and remains being obedient to the Great Commission.

People will attend your services for many reasons but they stay for one reason; a relational connection with Christ and with His people. People in our culture value knowing and being known, so if 70 is the limit, you must develop a system of groups of 70’s. There are two things that every person who visits your church needs. First, they need a role – a place of service. Secondly, they need a relationship – a place in a group.

Everyone needs to accept the responsibility to be a greeter, introducer, and a host. The process of assimilation simply means practicing Biblical hospitality in an intentional caring way. Every member of the church family must desire to welcome guests at your church the same way they would welcome guests into their home. People will bond to a church where they feel cared for. If no friendships are formed they will go somewhere they can find them.

Here are some ideas to consider on how to welcome those who visit:

  • Look for someone you don’t know.
  • Introduce yourself to them by asking them polite questions about themselves or their family.
  • Offer to sit by them, if possible, or ask if they would like to sit with you.
  • Engage with them in a conversation. Try to find a subject they are interested in or ask them if they have any questions about the church and its ministry.
  • Invite them for a time of coffee, refreshments, or offer to take them to lunch.
  • Practice the 3/10 rule! Encourage everyone at the end of the services to meet and engage with three people they do not know for the 10 minutes before everyone leaves!

We must train our church family how to take successive steps to help our guests to know how to become a part of our family!!! Healthy churches realize they must have a clear strategy to move people from being outside the family to becoming a fully committed family member!