The work of class greeters is about care, and it is essential for a Sunday School class or small group. I have written a description of duties: Job Description: Class Greeter. But how does that work during a pandemic? Can socially distanced greeters really function? Can their work lead guests to take the next step to join your class?
A positive, caring first impression is more likely to result in a second visit. Guests who return to Sunday School because of this care are more likely to stick and join. Those facts elevate the importance of the greeter.
Greeters lead the class to be intentionally relational. That means that more than greeters should be interested and willing to invest in guests! The greeter works to involve the entire class in greeting guests. Some people are more naturally relational than others, and they can be great greeters. But with time and training, much of the responsibility of greeter can be learned.
One side note: class greeters ideally should not be choir members who need to leave the class quickly at the end of Sunday School. Also, while the teacher will want to greet all guests, the teacher should not serve as the class greeter. That frees the teacher to be prepared and focused as needed.
Socially Distanced Greeters
Caring duties of greeters can be adjusted to keep members and guests safe during the pandemic. Consider these ideas:
- At the Door. Verbally greet members and guests outside the door if there is enough space. Smile. Avoid handshakes, hugs, and pats. Introduce yourself to guests. Keep conversations brief. Listen carefully. Ensure correct pronunciation of names.
- Register. Working with the group secretary, ask guests to complete registration (paper or online). Ask the best way to communicate your thanks for their attendance: electronic, phone, or visit. If members have name tags, ensure you have them for guests. (Registration and name tags could happen at a church welcome center before leading them to the classroom.)
- Assist. Help guests find comfortable seating. If possible, sit socially distant but near the guest. Provide a personal study guide, if available. Greeters introduce guests to the class, calling them by name. Help as needed.
- Guide. After class, greeters walk guests to find children, restrooms, and worship (unless accompanied by friend from the class). Then the guest sits near the guests in worship and introduces them to those around. At worship end, express appreciation for attending and ask if they had any questions. Assist as needed getting to the parking lot.
- Follow up. Use the guests’ preferred methods of communication to make contact with guests within 2-3 days. Again express appreciation and ask for any questions. Share about any upcoming studies or fellowships. Pray together.
Can you envision the result of these caring actions? When greeters lead the class to carry out this care, the result is genuine welcome and concern for guests. And some of those guests will feel at home and want to join your class. Enlist socially distanced greeters. Show them how to safely adjust their welcome and care for members and guest. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!