Several years ago, Thom Rainer, former CEO of Lifeway, revealed the results from a poll in which he asked first-time church guests what made them decide not to return to church. Their number one answer was a surprise to most church members. These first-time guests did not like the “stand and greet” welcome time in the worship service. Their reasons were numerous, but it mostly came down to this:
The “stand and greet” time usually involves people tossing a quick hello to those they do not know before turning to catch up with those they do. Rather than welcoming newcomers, people make lunch plans, discuss football games, catch up on friends and family, discipline children, etc. Guests expecting to meet regular attenders were surprised to find that the “greet those around you” time is actually a “greet those you know” time. They end up feeling left out, not welcomed.
There are churches that “do it right.” Members in these churches go out of their way to make guests feel welcome before church, during the “stand and greet” time, and then again after church. These members are even willing to let a guest have “their seat.” Guests are looking for sincere, genuine greetings. They want to know if church members really care and are friendly.
As a worship leader, I think the “greeting time,” which I sometimes call “holy chaos,” can be an effective time to enhance fellowship, but it should be quick and purposeful. Take time to find guests, greet them, and welcome them. If there are no guests around you, then warmly greet someone you don’t know very well or share a quick greeting with those seated right around you. When the worship leader, praise team, and choir begin to sing, end your conversation and quickly re-focus on singing and praising Jesus – if you keep talking, you are distracting people from worshiping God. After worship, go finish that conversation you were having earlier and enjoy the fellowship!
Choir Christmas Bonus Rehearsal – Monday, October 14th
Pizza at 6:30 pm, Rehearsal 7:00 – 8:30 pm