Signs Are Important, But People Are Better

 hospitality signs

It’s important to have clear signs in your church facility.  But having hospitable people stationed in strategic places is even better. – Mark Waltz

To those who have a church background, it’s somewhat easy to figure out where to go and what to do when showing up to a church building or worship service.  But what about those who visit your church and have never been?  Because people matter to God, they should matter to us.  It’s important for each congregation to pull out all the stops when it comes to welcoming guests and creating “wow” moments on Sunday mornings.  One key is enough people stationed at various entrances and exits to make it personal.


In his book, First Impressions (Revised in 2013), Mark Waltz describes the reasons why it’s important to offer over the top hospitality and a welcoming environment to guests in worship. One aspect is in regards to a personal, human connection when it comes to knowing where to go and what do to next.

Signs pointing the way to the welcome area, worship area, restrooms or other areas are important, but people are better.  Think of what it would be like to be greeted in the parking lot, greeted as you walk up to the door, as you enter the door and as you are finding your way into the worship area.  How can a church do this to such an excellent degree that every guest knows how much we care about them before they ever hear how much God cares about them?

Even church facilities that aren’t designed with a large gathering area, a coffee shop, or a huge welcome center can overcome barriers with friendly people pointing the way and making connections.

And if there is one thing the church has, it’s an army of people.

Without costing any extra money, without redesigning any rooms or buildings, every church could mobilize a certain percentage of the congregation to become the “signs” on Sundays. In addition to the standard greeters and ushers you currently have, you could add several other stations and posts where the team is on the look out for ways to help welcome guests and help make connections.  Yes, it would require some vision and training, but because God loves us, we want to love the people in our communities!

What would it take to assemble a team of people from your church who could  “wow” guests to the point they talk about their experience to others?

This is the order of potential first impressions of your church:

1. Website

2. Building Appearance (Curb Appeal)

3. Parking lot greeters (not always parking attendance, but a wave and smile).

4. Outdoor Greeters.

5. Door Openers.

6. Inside Greeters.

7. Welcome / Information Center Staff.

8. Worship Center Greeters / Ushers.

9. Worship Center Section Greeters (people seated in your area).

10. Media, Graphic, Stage Design Teams.

11. Music / Worship Ministry Team.

12. Pastor / Preacher / Speaker.

Each congregation needs to work to devise a plan for assembling and training a team of people who can offer great first impressions for every service at your church.  With a little administration from a passionate person, the welcoming ministry in your church can turn the world upside down.

Jesus said that his disciples should love one another.  The world needs to see this in bigger ways! We need to bind together, as the church, encourage and strengthening each other as well as we being hospitable to guests!  The community and region around your church really does need to be “wowed” by our crazy love for them.  This needs to become the mantra of every Christian church: “Because God loves us so much, we love you.”

Get a plan together for people in your church to become – in a practical way – the signs that point the way to God’s great love and transforming power.

You can still get a kindle version of the book First Impressions, here. 

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Why The Small Church Should Watch For Great Leaders

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