Remember the greeters of yesteryear who welcomed even children to church services? The preacher might have delivered a kiss on the cheek, and it wasn’t uncommon for an elderly woman to offer a white-gloved hand and a piece of hard candy.
While neither of these responses would be appropriate today, a church’s welcome has a memorable quality, often either lauded or criticized by visitors. It’s difficult to consistently do a good job because attendees have such a broad range of preferences. And the challenge is increased with the extra visitors a major church event draws.
Super Greeters to the Rescue
Consider stepping up your game for your approaching high-volume events by recruiting volunteer “Super Greeters.” Identify and equip your friendliest people with information (such as maps) and the flexibility to “go the extra mile” by escorting guests to classrooms or the sanctuary (in addition to those who stand at entrances and smile). Especially for a larger event, super-greeters should be positioned throughout the church’s spaces and clearly recognizable as hosts.
Big events can drain your volunteer base. Where can you find the best help for this relatively small job that makes a big impression?
Finding the right volunteer, for any job, is an opportunity to personally encourage someone. Avoid e-mail; make a phone call. Explain that being a Super Greeter is an important job, and you need the right person. Then share with your potential volunteer the specific ways she stands out.
If your short list of potential Super Greeters is, well, short, perhaps one of these groups could surprise you:
1. INITIATE NEWBIES
Sometimes new people want to plug in, but they’re not sure how. Think about those you’ve been getting to know, and ask around about other new faces. Which newbies seem the most comfortable meeting people? Who might be encouraged to know his personal strengths have been noticed? New members also have recently experienced what it feels like to be a visitor, and might feel particularly called to the job.
2. TRAIN UP THE TEENAGERS
With clear instruction, certain teenagers can be perfect super-greeters. Are they conversational with people of all ages? Mature for their age? Caring toward others? Responsible? Have a great smile? Young people may appreciate being noticed by an adult and entrusted with an important job.
Work with your young volunteers personally (not through a parent), clearly communicate your expectations, and make sure they answer to you for the job. This is a great opportunity to teach young people how to serve. And visitors will be delighted by an impressive teenager.
3. SEEK OUT THE SAGES
Older people, who were once active, energetic volunteers, sometimes can’t participate in church activities like they once did. Perhaps health challenges, family needs, or fatigue prohibits their involvement. Your personal request for their help as a super-greeter may encourage them, showing them that they’re remembered and still needed.
4. MAKE YOUR CASE TO THE SUPER-BUSY
A busy season in a person’s life can squelch active volunteerism. Some people may still want to serve in small ways, but can no longer commit to a routine gig. A super-greeter’s commitment is brief and contained. She shows up, helps for a specified amount of time, and meets an important need. Done.
If someone is a good fit for the Super Greeter role, he or she may not need a lot of people training. However they should be trained for all areas of risk and appropriate responses and have access to a great deal of information in order to provide the value needed in the job.
Download our Super Greeter Checklist for now, to prepare for your large events coming up…
or our Anatomy of a Super Greeter slide deck that can serve as a light-hearted basis for getting your welcome team ready.