CHURCH HOSPITALITY 101: Very Practical Tips for Everyone
DANIEL K. ENG | MARCH 27, 2019 | 3 MIN READ
People like to say that first impressions last a lifetime. It’s true for the first time you meet someone, but it’s also true for the first time you meet a group of people.
Each Sunday, you could have newcomers at your church. They’re having their first impression of your church community, perhaps their first impression of Christians, and maybe even their first impression of Jesus.
Do you consider what the newcomer’s first worship experience at your church will be like? How can you as an individual make his or her visit comfortable instead of awkward?
Let’s look at some easy, practical steps you can take to contribute to a welcoming environment.
1. Arrive at worship service early
Arriving early puts you in a relaxed mindset and prepares you to connect with God and others. This Sunday, will you plan to arrive at church 15 minutes earlier? This simple step will probably make you more cheerful and ready to smile and greet those around you. Besides, God is pleased when you make worship a priority and prepare your hearts and minds before worship service begins.
2. Sit closer to the front
When people come for the first time, they usually want to stay anonymous. If regular attendees like you sit closer to the front, you can leave the seats in the back for those who are new. They feel more comfortable and enjoy the service. Bonus perk: Sitting closer to the front helps free you of distractions so you can focus on worshipping God during service!
3. Sit in the middle of your row
Often newcomers show up late for one reason or another. Will you serve them by leaving the aisle seats open for those who come late? This will allow them to slip into a seat quickly and be less awkward about scooting past you down the narrow gap between chairs. It’ll help them to have the Sunday experience without being embarrassed.
4. Look for needs
If you see someone without a Bible, help them to feel included in the service by offering to lend them your own. Perhaps you can even bring two Bibles to church so you can have this opportunity to serve someone every Sunday! Look for a need and offer to meet that need. This can also apply to your bulletin, pens, or even tissues!
What if everyone in our church communities took simple steps like these? As we institute practical habits, let’s pray that God will transform our hearts to find more ways to love those who are new or unfamiliar in our churches.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article appeared in Online, the Evergreen SGV newsletter.
Daniel K. Eng is a husband, dad, preacher, teacher, and Bible scholar. After a decade of pastoral ministry in California and Texas, he is now pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge, researching the epistle of James. He has a Doctor of Ministry in Asian American Ministry (Talbot) and desires to see Asian Americans follow Jesus Christ and make an impact for God's kingdom. Daniel currently lives in the United Kingdom with his wife, Sanjung, and three daughters, Joanna, Josie, and Jessica.