15 easy and effective ways to welcome new visitors at church

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, which means when someone comes to visit your church for the first time, you need to put your best foot forward. You can do this by adopting a welcoming culture that mirrors the love of Christ. Get started with these 15 ideas that will help you make a memorable first impression that leaves guests wanting to come back again.

1. First impressions start in the parking lot when guests arrive. Make sure grounds are clean and well cared for, creating an inviting exterior.

2. Reserve special parking near the front door for visitors to show that you always welcome new guests and want them to feel honored.

3. Have clear and concise signage so people know where everything is, from the bathroom to the nursery and beyond.

4. Have a member of the welcome committee man each doorway to welcome everyone who enters with enthusiasm and joy.

5. Have someone stand at an informational table with flyers and pamphlets on various church programs. This should also be a place where people who have questions can go to get answers.

6. Have all ushers, greeters and members of the welcome committee wear a name tag that lists their job so people can easily see who is available to help.

7. Guests will likely visit the restroom before they leave. Make sure this space is clean and tidy.

8. A well-run nursery will help visitors feel comfortable leaving their children so they can focus on the sermon. Plus, when the kids have fun, they will be more likely to return.

9. Offer activity packs that people can take to occupy their children during services if they decide not to use the nursery or their children are older and prefer to stay with the parents.

10. Ensure church services are easy for visitors to follow. You can do this by including supplemental information in pews and incorporating at least one well-known song into the music.

11. Include informational cards for visitors to fill out in the pews, at informational booths and at entryways. Use this to send a thank-you card for visiting within 48 hours.

12. Hold monthly open house after church services where you give tours and have additional members from the welcome committee available to help out with guests. Invite members to bring a friend during these times.

13. Invite guests to activities and upcoming events, even if they aren't ready to join as members. This demonstrates you are welcoming to all.

14. Have the pastor give a special call-out at the end of the services to welcome visitors to coffee hour for tasty beverages and treats. Make sure to encourage everyone to greet new faces at these gatherings so no one feels isolated.

15. Send visiting families home with a welcome kit. For example, a bag with basic church information along with a fun craft, small game or other activity to encourage quality time together.

With a little effort you can make a big impression on anyone who visits your church no matter the time of year. Let these 15 ideas inspire you and incorporate your own to really set your church up for success.