Plan your event and assemble your team. If you have a Welcoming Coordinator, ask this person to chair your Open House event. Get everyone involved including the children and youth.
- Spruce up. Ask the trustees to take a tour of your buildings listing areas that need a coat of paint, repair work, weeds pulled, flowers planted, windows washed, or a fresh set of curtains, etc. Use the summer to make improvements.
- Bulletin Boards. Look around for areas that you can display the church’s outreach activities, educational programs, missions, youth and children activities. If your welcoming area is large enough, develop kiosks and/or a welcome center where church information kits can be distributed. If you have a bulletin board at the main entrance, be sure to include a welcome message from the entire congregation.
- Nursery and Children’s Sunday School Area – You can send a strong message to parents of children that this congregations puts a high value on the care and spiritual well-being of its children by the appearance of the classroom, the display of children’s work and the quality of the nursery equipment. Ask the children to prepare a memento to give visiting children.
- Outdoor and Indoor signs. Check your signage for weather damage or overgrown vegetation. Are there signs at the street, parking areas, front door, bathrooms, nursery and worship areas? If you need to direct people to another door, use the friendlier “Please enter through side door” rather than “Do Not Enter”. Remember newcomers need our compassionate caring before they enter our churches.
- Accessibility – Can you accommodate people using wheelchairs or who have special physical challenges, i.e, hearing aids?
- Promote. Create excitement by outlining your plans to the congregations. Write articles in the newsletter and update your Web site. Make announcements in the bulletin and during worship. Ask the pastor to include hospitality concepts into his/her sermons. Advertise in your local newspaper or hang banners. Include an Open House invitation on your recorded phone message. Develop flyers and ask each member to post them in establishments where they do business. Place ads in and inform your local television media.
- Invite. Plan a month in advance of your event to create a list of invitees. Give each church member (include children and youth) five invitations and indicate they write a personal note in each and return. A list of invitees should be created and posted so members can become familiar with the names before the Open House month. Invitations should be sent two weeks in advance. It is crucial that every member of your congregation be prepared to invite and receive newcomers into a relationship with your church and discipling them in faith.
- Greeters/Hosts – Plan on having greeters or hosts at every entrance and gathering area. These people should be trained as to your objectives. You get extra points if your members wear name badges each week. Warning! Visitors do not like to be singled out wearing the only name badges. Another idea is to assign each row with a Pew Host whose responsibility would be to introduce himself or herself and assist the guest, if needed, during the service.
- Worship Bulletins – It is extremely important to remember to design your bulletins for those who have never been to church. Be very intentional about how to lead them in participating in your service. Indicate where to stand and sit.
- Worship Style Preferences – Remember to respect the worship styles of all your adult generations. A blend of hymns and format could offer a compromise.
- Visitors Gifts– Though not required, a gift, baked goods, information kit/video, picture directory, devotional guide or the Igniting Ministry Gift video gives a good impression of a church who cares.
Contact UsIgniting Ministry
810 12th Avenue South – Nashville, TN 37203-4744 – P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320
Phone: 877-281-6535 | Fax: 615-742-5777 | firstname.lastname@example.org