Five Keys to an Incredible Greeters’ Ministry

July 29, 2015

It’s the one thing all churches can do to reach more people, but it’s one thing most churches give little attention.

Most churches can take five simple steps to create and/or improve their greeters’ ministry and potentially see dramatic results. Let me give you a simple example of the potential impact.

A church of 200 in worship attendance may get 150 first-time guests in a year. Can you imagine the transformation that would take place if one-half of those guests connected with the church and became a part of the congregation? The church of 200 in attendance would become a church of 275 in attendance – in one year!

In our surveys of first-time guests, we hear repeatedly that one of the keys that caused them to return was a friendly first impression. Like it or not, it’s often a make or break issue for the guest.

So how can you be certain that your greeters are doing everything possible to provide an incredible first-time impression? Here are five “best practices” where churches have dynamic greeter ministries, and where the return rate of guests is high.

  1. Train your greeters. Most church greeters have had no training, and it is often painfully obvious. The simple process of training makes a dramatic difference in this ministry. Here is a link to the training we provide at LifeWay.
  2. Create alternating teams of greeters. I recommend greeters serve in their place of ministry every other month. The rotation helps them keep a fresh perspective and avoid burnout. Of course, a greeter in the “off” cycle can fill in for another greeter when needed.
  3. Treat the ministry as a major ministry of the church. In some churches, the greeters’ ministry has second-class status. Those churches that are highly effective in retaining first-time guests understand the importance of this ministry. The leaders recruit highly-competent and highly-motivated church members for it.
  4. Make visits to other churches a regular part of the greeters’ training. I recommend greeters attend a different church about once a quarter. They should write down their experiences, good and bad, to share with others in the greeters’ ministry.
  5. Have quarterly greeters’ meetings. The primary purpose of this meeting is to hear about the visits to other churches. It is not a meeting just for the sake of meeting.

I am asked regularly about the most effective ways to reach people in churches. Most churches have not made a significant commitment in training and resourcing greeters. That one simple but significant step could make a huge difference in the numbers reached for the gospel each year.

Share with me what you have learned about greeters’ ministries, good or bad. What do you think of the five keys I named? What would you add?

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  • Sadrac Aguilar says on

    I clicked on the link for the material you provided on your website but it takes me to no where. What training material do you recommend for greeters?

  • Everything I read so very helpful as I am considering taking the lead in our greeter ministry. Our Pastor, James A, Dunkins has had many workshops with your books. I would really appreciate a greeters handbook, or book, mystery guest checklist and. I do not want our church to be like your book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church. Please help with any information.

  • Thi Phan Luong says on

    Dear Pastor Thom Rainer,
    Thank you for those points above, I am in Vietnam, I am preparing the document for Greeters training course at our ministry. I read all your comment and found they are very helpful for me. I you need document concerning to the Greeters skill training, please attach to my email [email protected] , thank you in advance. God bless you all.

  • Carol Chandler says on

    Very helpful. God bless you. Please send it on email.
    God bless ou.

  • This is a very good resource. Thank you! Would you please email me the “mystery guest” check list?
    God Bless!

  • Hello,
    I would love to have a copy of the check list.
    Thank you
    [email protected]

  • Janice Fontenot says on

    I would also like a copy of the check list. Thanks

  • Terri T Williams says on

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog and all the comments!!! I have learned so much and truly want to be an effective, Godly Greeter. Thank you for this site. ????

  • Wendi Palmer says on

    Do you have anything available for free referencing the greeters training? $97 for overbooked not what I expected when clicking on the link above.
    Thank you kindly!

  • Translation of the above:

    Good evening! I’m in Brazil and I found this site through a post made by a markting professional about church reception.
    My brother, I need to present a proposal for a more organized and committed reception for my pastor … because we have many shortcomings in the EX organizational part: selection, training, awareness of the function, hierarchies, anyway! would you have any material developed for training?
    I really liked the tips! but I need something more elaborate for training … if you have, and you can help me,
    I’ll be grateful for the help.

  • maristela ferreira cunha says on

    Boa noite! estou no Brasil e encontrei este site através de um poste feito por um profissional de markting,sobre recepçao de igreja.
    Meu irmão, preciso apresentar uma proposta de uma recepção mas organizada e comprometida, para meu pastor… pois estamos com muitas deficiências na parte organizacional EX: seleção, treinamento conscientização da função ,hierarquias, enfim! teria algum material elaborado para treinamento?
    gostei bastante das dicas! mas preciso de algo mas elaborado para treinamento… se o senhor tiver, e puder me ajudar,
    vou ficar grata pela ajuda.


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