Let’s start a turf war, shall we? Because a post title like that is just the thing to get some gang warfare going between those who love the great outdoors and those who love great HVAC.
To be absolutely clear (and avoid angry comments), every greeter plays a vital role. Inside or outside, there’s no distinction on the need for their presence. Whether they serve at an info table or as a seater or as a part of the set up team, they’re all important. However, from the perspective of a first-time guest, it’s the front line greeters that – at least in the first few moments – carry the most weight.
Here’s why: when someone shows up at your church for the first time, their brain is on high alert. Being in a new situation, their conscious and subconscious is desperately searching for meaning and answers in unfamiliar surroundings: Where do I go? What do I do? How do I avoid embarrassment?
And when a guest drives by a greeter on the outer fringes of your property – a smiling, waving greeter that has been placed there to welcome them – that greeter sends a subtle signal: We care. We have prepared for you. We have a plan for your comfort. And there’s more where this came from.
Too often, churches are guilty of thinking inside out when it comes to volunteer placement: we circle the wagons in the sanctuary, make sure someone is handing out pens at the auditorium doors, and maybe get some coverage at the welcome center. But a guest-friendly church thinks outside-in: What is the first touch we can provide in their first seconds on campus? Let’s put someone there.
A well-placed greeter tells a guest that you’re ready, and it causes them to look for other greeters along the way. That guy waving on the corner paves the way for another guy serving the parking lot, and a lady holding the door, and a college student helping find open seats.
Don’t discount the folks on the fringes. Don’t shy away from putting volunteers far away. Those on the outer edge set the first impression of your first impression. Make it a good one.
Photo credit: Brett Seay