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Hospitality Checklist (Invite)
Hospitality Checklist (Invite)
A Hospitality Checklist with Suggestions for Enhancing Welcome
The community is aware of your congregation's ministry through your publicity efforts. Invitational and informative ads are in the Yellow Pages and local papers. Periodic special efforts are made to inform the community of special events and worship opportunities (flyers delivered to homes, posters for public places, radio, ads, banners or signs on the church property when weather permits).
Your church sign is visible, easy to read, informative and inviting. It stands perpendicular to the road and is well lit. Its information (times of services, etc.) is up-to-date. The movable letters in the sign allow you to add eye-catching messages regularly. Directional signs are also maintained and well-placed in key community locations.
Your church building and grounds are attractive and well-maintained. Landscaping, parking lot, signage, and the building's appearance communicate that your church is vital and caring. Clean, bright rooms, bulletin boards, art work, furniture and fixtures help your guests and members feel welcome and enthusiastic about your ministry together.
Your parking lot is well-marked with directional signs and parking spaces for guests close to the main entrance. You reserve from two to six spaces (depending on the size of your congregation) for guests and those with physical handicaps.
You help guests feel welcome as soon as they enter the parking lot. Parking lot attendants direct guests to designated guest parking and welcome all worshipers to your congregation. During inclement weather attendants assist worshipers with a hand and an umbrella.
The main entrance to your church is bright and welcoming. Signs clearly identify the location of bathrooms, nursery. Sunday school office, etc. Detailed building maps are available at the main entrance to assist guests in finding the various facilities and offices.
Greeters are stationed at the entrance of your building to welcome all worshipers. These trained greeters offer a special welcome to guests and are in place at least fifteen minutes before worship begins. Greeters receive annual refresher training in the art of effective listening and welcoming. New greeters are recruited regularly and all greeters are taught to see this as an important ministry.
Members with a gift for hospitality are available to "adopt" guests for the day. These "narthex neighbors" introduce guests to other members, guide them through the building, and assist them in worship as necessary. They also help to introduce guests to the pastor/s and others during the fellowship time following worship.
An information table or display provides up-to-date information on your congregation's ministry activities. You provide ample quantities of material (brochure, newsletter, devotional booklets, an event promo, etc.) for guests to take home with them. A person staffs the "information center" and is able to answer questions and offer information about your congregation's ministry.
Visitors and members of your congregation are encouraged to wear name tags. Consider using permanent name tags for members to save on cost. If you use permanent name tags, be sure guests name tags are similar in appearance so they do not feel singled out.
Your nursery is clean, well staffed and adequately equipped. Visiting parents feel comfortable leaving their children in your nursery because people and systems are in place to offer quality, stimulating and safe nursery care. If you care for a large number of children, separate space and care is provided for infants and toddlers.
You welcome guests at the beginning of worship. Guests are not embarrassed or singled out. They feel warmly received within the first ten minutes of your worship service.
You include children and youth in your worship services. They participate in worship as assisting ministers (acolytes, lectors, ushers), as musicians (children's choir/s, vocalists and instrumentalists), etc. Elements of the service speak directly to children at their level of comprehension (children's sermon, children's bulletins, occasional use of children's songs).
Your worship bulletin is clear and attractive. Guests are able to participate without juggling several pieces of paper and books. You either reproduce the whole order of service (the ideal in terms of visitor-friendliness) or you invest extra effort in giving directions.
You employ an effective system for registering worshipers and use that system to glean addresses for guest follow-up. Note: a "guest book" is not the most effective means of registering guests. Greater participation occurs through the use of either pew pads or cards.
Your worship leaders make brief, simple announcements to guide the worshipers. "The service begins on page...," "The gospel reading comes from the New Testament account of Matthew...". Leaders allow enough time for people to find their place before beginning. Instructions are given in the bulletin and verbally about worship attendance cards or guest books.
You choose music and hymns that help to create a mood of welcome and vitality. Opening hymns are familiar to your members and easy to sing. They set the stage for meaningful worship. Closing hymns send your worshipers off to serve with energy. You are attentive to the variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds in your congregation and regularly sing songs that speak to these traditions. You balance your traditional hymns with contemporary music to meet the needs of your younger members. Worship language is clear and not archaic. It is not sexist or racist. It is ethnically sensitive to the people living in your neighborhood.
When it's time for communion your guests know clearly who is welcome to commune and how the elements are distributed. Care is taken to welcome guests to the table through both verbal and printed announcements.
You make available printed and/or video materials that explain Lutheran beliefs, practices and liturgy. Greeters and ushers offer these resources to answer some of the basic questions guests might have.
You provide two or more different styles of well-planned and led worship. (eg. a liturgical LBW rite service as well as a contemporary worship or ethnically appropriate option).
You host a refreshment and conversation time following worship that offers more than coffee and tea. Your guests are introduced to members. Your gathering space is large, bright, has places to sit, and is readily accessible to the traffic flow in your congregation. Members regularly invite guests to join them at coffee hour.
Lay members of your congregation call on worship guests within 48 hours of their visit.