(And all sing) “On the 4th day of great tips for churches Christmas Eve…” (You can go back the past three days for the first three verses.)
Tip #4: Making a Great First Impression
Just like the parking lot tips, this is where a little church member/regulars education has to happen. Everyone wants families, right? They’re not flocking through our doors like the “good ol’ days,” right? So some savvy sacrifice has to happen to make Christmas Eve guests’ arrival experience memorably positive.
1) Remind church members that they talk to each other every week so challenge them to go out of their way to welcome
EVERYONE and have conversation with people they don’t know so well. This has to be more than the “turn and greet one another handshake” (which I’m not a fan of, by the way). Intentional well-wishes and welcome, especially to the stranger. Give better than Jesus got His first Christmas Eve.
2) Clean up the church entrance ways. Get rid of junk; put away “business” stuff (offering envelopes, calendars, devotional books, flyers, etc.) for one night. Make sure that surfaces are neat, clean and orderly.
3) Do an “ambiance check” in the entrances: soft table lamp lighting and a poinsettia or nativity set here and there creates a lovely effect. Candle arrangements in the entrances or windows say, “warmth and welcome.” Of course, a Christmas tree with candy canes for the kids is a welcome delight, signaling that kids have been considered.
4) Make sure extra hangers for coat racks are available. In fact, why not put a few people near the racks to take people’s coats for them?
5) Front door greeters: They’re only as helpful as much as they greet. I went to a friend’s church once where the greeter didn’t say a word, just handed me a bulletin (which is not the place to hand out the bulletin. Spend time before the service with the greeters making sure they know what to tell guests about a family’s needs (bathrooms, nursery, changing table, coat racks, etc.
Feels like I’m forgetting something. Chip in here; what have I missed?