web-Bellingham-welcome
An attractive display of information + a friendly greeter are a welcome sight in the narthex.

An active Welcome Ministry is ready to respond to our most obvious evangelistic opportunity: the people who have made their way to the church door. Sunday greeters can make this new experience less intimidating by answering questions, providing the right materials, and making introductions.

  1. Recruit volunteers to serve as greeters for Sunday mornings and other services.
    • Define responsibilities (i.e. what time to arrive by, what to hand out)
    • Create a schedule and substitution system
    • Review frequently asked questions and common situations
    • Provide training and update annually
  2. Create a Welcome Packet which made include:
    • Ancient Faith Publishing brochures available here.
    • Comprehensive “What is the Orthodox Church?” pamphlet available here.
    • A parish-specific brochure to tell your story. Contact us for sample copy.
    • Materials to describe parish ministries and invite participation.
    • Our Ministry can help you develop a customized welcome packet for a minimal fee.
  3. Capture visitor contact information with guest sign-in or visitor card.
  4. Seat guests next to parishioners who are willing to help them find their way in the service book.
  5. Invite guests to stay for coffee hour.
  6. Create a system for clergy to formally acknowledge guests by name during end-of-service announcements. We recommend mentioning their names and where they are visiting from (alternatively, which parishioner they are visiting), without asking them to stand. This gives the rest of the congregation clues to begin a conversation.
  7. Connect with guests during coffee hour.
    • Prioritize guests over socializing with friends
    • Introduce visitors to the clergy and parishioners with common interests.
    • Create a welcome table in the fellowship hall and staff the table during coffee hour. Keep it stocked with appropriate brochures and parish information, as well as coffee or snacks.
    • Ask guests about their experience
  8. Follow-up within a week. Consider:
    1. a phone call
    2. an e-mail
    3. a postcard
  9. Keep a log of how many guests you receive, general notes, and how they were followed up with.
  10. Routinely re-evaluate:
    • Parish website and content for first-time visitors
    • External and internal signage
    • the Narthex set-up
    • the Welcome Packet
    • Coffee hour flow
    • Culture of prioritizing guests
    • Follow-up system
    • Log, including feedback from guests