The universal “Hello.”
Hola. Aloha. Glad to meet you. Welcome. Happy you’re here. Hi there. Hey. And the ‘head nod.‘
All are forms of the “Hello.” As churches focus so much attention on the ‘welcome’ of guests, is there more than a handshake needed? The welcome is important and cannot be skipped, but perhaps we should strive to go beyond the hello and adapt the mindset of a host.
Let me ask you: have you ever hosted a party or gathering at your house? As you’ve laid out the plans, prepared your environment and welcomed the first few—you’ve instinctively gone on to more fully fulfill the role of host. We know intuitively that it goes further than a smiling “hello.” Hosting is about so much more . . .
What if every member of your church started to go beyond the hello and really began seeing themselves as a host? Do you think that might make a difference to your guests?
5 keys of hosting:
Think back to the last party you’ve hosted—as you’ve opened up your home to people, you’re always pointing things out (the refreshments, bathrooms, etc.) without assuming that your guests will know or figure it out because they’ve been to ‘other‘ parties before. Every good host never assumes. A good host naturally fills in the gaps that people might have. They anticipate questions. They announce again and again, because they want guests to be in the know.
Folks may have heard it before, but a host never assumes—they assist with the information needed, so guests feel comfortable.
There is great power in an invitation. You try new things in life probably more via invitation than simply reading new information. So invite them along to the next step.
In a culture that is taking that tip more and more seriously, the church often can feel irrelevant by the negligence of our room environments. Now caution: this can become a money pit—always looking to sink more resources into improving spatial experiences. Costs shouldn’t dictate room environments, they may influence the decisions, but costs should not drive decisions. Be frugal, be tidy, be mindful, be creative and be actively reviewing each room.
Create a bit more of that warm environment than existed last year. The little (and cost effective) things really do matter.
Keep a simple agenda—help the guests at your church always ‘feel’ that they matter to God and that they matter to you.
You’ve been there. I have been there. Humanity runs on human connection. People often return to places because of connection. For example, I bet what drives you back to a favorite restaurant, has more to do with connection to those people (they made you feel special) than it does the food. Customer service professionals drive home this brutal reality. Connections matter.
If we as a church can help guests develop connections to the church as a whole and to some folks within her, than a sense of belonging will follow. And as they feel they belong to a group of people (the church) it opens the door to believing in the one we follow (Christ). A host seeks to introduce. A host helps foster connection.
The hello is important, but the Church is in need of more hosts.
How is your church moving beyond hello?