First Impressions are lasting impressions. Most groups think they are friendly. I have literally attended Sunday School classes where no one talked to me or my wife. I am sure they thought that somebody would do it, but nobody did it and we didn’t go back.
WHAT DO I DO? If you want to make a ensure that your group has a welcoming climate, implement these three best practices:
- Enlist somebody to do it. That somebody could be the teacher. Ideally teachers should arrive early and be ready to greet the guests. That somebody could be the Outreach Leader. Since they will want to follow up, the outreach leader could serve as primary greeter for the group. That somebody could be a “Hidden” Greeter. Somebody needs see a new person on Sunday morning, initiates a conversation and makes sure that the guests and members are welcomed and have a great experience. Don’t assume that everybody will be friendly, enlist somebody.
- Encourage your group to smile and show their teeth. Life is hard. Greet everyone with a smile, call everyone by name (consider wearing nametags) and let everyone know that they are loved.
- Remember the real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction. Train your people to speak to each other, to care about each other. Guests are watching.
How’s the welcoming climate in your group?