As part of a typical church consultations, our teams always evaluate a church’s Welcome Center. Here are a few issues we’ve encountered over several years.
- No Welcome Center – Many churches have no welcome center at all. Not having one is not automatically an irreversible mistake, but we’ve found a correlation between churches that have no center and churches that seldom see guests attend (or come back).
- No greeters directing to the Center – A Welcome Center is almost irrelevant if guests don’t know there is one – or if they stumble upon it by accident. Greeters in the parking lot and at every door should direct (even, escort) guests to the Center.
- The Center in a hard-to-find place – I recall one church where the Center was two halls away from the main door. Members knew exactly where the Center was, but that’s not the goal when choosing a location. The church did have signs to the Center, but guests seldom followed (or even noticed) the signs.
- Nobody at the Center – If there’s anything worse than not having a Welcome Center, it’s having a Center that attempts to say “Welcome” without any human beings around. Things happen that create this problem (someone is sick, someone forgets, etc.), but the problem is real nonetheless.
- Not enough people at the Center – This problem also creates #4 above. If the Center has one attendant, and that attendant is escorting a guest somewhere, you still have a temporarily unmanned Welcome Center. We encourage a minimum of two (and preferably, three) workers at a time.
- Workers who direct but don’t escort – Our teams are always glad to get guidance to a small group room, the nursery, the sanctuary, etc. Sometimes, though, the Center workers only point in the general direction or provide a map that is seldom helpful. A personal guide is always best.
- Parents and children separated without further guidance – Welcome Center folks can help families know where they need to go, with adults often going in one direction and children in another direction. Getting them to the right places is only part of their responsibility, though. Help guests also know how to find their children, etc., when the worship service is over.
- Untrained workers – A Welcome Center worker who knows nothing about the building, nothing about small groups, nothing about the nursery, etc., might be a great friendly face – but the Welcome Center may not be the best place for him/her to work. Our teams have encountered workers who asked them to remain at the Center while the “workers” went to find directions.
- Center blocked by friendly crowds – When a Welcome Center is centrally located, it’s also often a place for everybody to gather. When that happens, great fellowship occurs while guests can’t get to the help they need.
- Workers arriving late and leaving too early – We tell Welcome Center workers to be in place at least 30 minutes prior to the service or small groups, and then remain in place at least 20 minutes past the start of these activities. Guests often come early in order to find out where they need to be, and others come late for multiple reasons. The Welcome Center folks need to assume their “shift” includes time beyond the worship service or small group times.
What other issues have you seen?