I was eating lunch at one of our local fast food restaurants. The line outside was fairly long and I went inside to place my order. The line inside was relatively short, but the young lady working the cash register must have been new. She was working slowly and the manager had to keep asking her what her name was? I placed my order and gave them my money. There was no polite conversation. No, “How are you today?” They just took my money. No “Thank you and have a nice day.” In fact, when I got my French fries, the manager threw them on to the tray and never said a word. The fries spilled out of the container and all over the tray and the manager just walked on to fill another order. I like the food at this particular restaurant and I like their prices, but their quality of service is severely lacking. There was no warmth. No friendliness. No sense that they cared if I ever came back or not. If I owned the restaurant, I would make some drastic changes. Customers need to feel valued or they will not continue to return and give that store or restaurant their business.
We need to understand that churches often treat new attendee’s the same way I was treated at the fast food restaurant. Guests come in the door and are not greeted. They sit through the service and no one talks to them before or after the service. The best music and the best preaching in the world will not bring that person back to that particular church. A church that does not make a person feel valued will cause them to go somewhere else to worship or maybe even worse, to cause them to give up on church all together. It is important that when people arrive on Sunday morning, people are at the doors and even in the parking lot helping people get into the building. New people should not get into the building or a classroom without having several people greet them and get to know them. When new guests attend Sunday school or worship they should be greeted warmly and be made to feel welcome. Churches need to let people know that they value them and care about their spiritual growth. Each church needs to maintain a spirit of love and acceptance and make people feel welcome.
May I encourage each of you to do something special to go even a step further? Most of the time, you sit on the same pew or chair each Sunday for worship. Why not take the responsibility to greet everyone on your pew or row of chairs and make sure they are welcomed. It would be O.K. to have two or three greeters on every pew or row. In fact, some may take the responsibility to greet everyone on their pew or row and also on the pew or row behind them and in front of them. Most church members always do a good job greeting the people they know, but make sure that no one comes to your church and leaves feeling that you do not care about them. We may only get one chance to reach a lost person for Christ. If all of us will take some responsibility to meet and greet and befriend others, we can make a difference.
May God bless you and your church in the days ahead. Be in church Sunday and make sure and greet the new folks! It may make a difference forever in their lives!