Saturday, June 6, 2009
We are visitors (part 3)
Another thing we found amusing, although detrimental was the greeter ministry in many of the churches we visited. Most church leaders seem to understand the importance of making people feel welcome, but this understanding doesn’t trickle down to the congregation.
In most of the churches we visited, we were greeted with a warm handshake and a “Hello” or “Welcome” at the door. The greeters were doing their job. But that’s where the welcome ended.
It was as if the church members expected the greeters – the professionals – to welcome the people. Everyone else was just there to enjoy the service. In one church we had to ask three different people where to find the Children’s Church service ministry.
We were wandering around with our “deer in the headlights” look, holding the hands of our two daughters who were obviously the right age for this ministry. We were either ignored or given a token smile by the church workers who were busy preparing for the service.
We have to remember what’s important: We exist for the people, they don’t exist for us! We have to train our workers – in whatever area, even the janitorial staff – that the people aren’t in the way. On the contrary, they are honored guests… and that includes the regular church attenders.
So often we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to notice the people around us – people that may be hurting or needing affirmation or even a genuine smile and welcome. Our people can minister BEFORE and AFTER the service, if we’ll just train them to do so. I’m so thankful that Jesus was willing to be interrupted – even in the middle of a church service!
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that my job isn’t to direct them to someone else (“Go talk to that guy over there…”). I personally take people to the other person and introduce them… “Joe, this is _________. She’s interested in ___________. Can you help her?”
Do you see the difference between the two approaches? One is simply fulfilling a job description. The other is showing respect and concern. We can’t afford to treat the precious people God has given us with anything less than the dignity He has invested in them.
We have to train our people!