Seedlings: Radical Hospitality "Listen, a sower went out to sow . . ." (Mark 4:3)
Simple, Easy, Safe Ideas
Teach a lesson on Radical Hospitality in every adult class * Make the church lawn attractive * Clean, check, repaint, and repair outdoor playground equipment * Clean, update, light, or repaint the church sign * Visit first-time visitors with a gift/literature within 36 hrs. * Send a letter from the pastor, personally signed, to each first-time visitor * Offer a tour of the church once a month after services for visitors * Stay loose before worship, foster mixing and mingling, or provide a coffee bar * Customize your visitor registration form to collect email addresses * Start each service with a warm welcome * Offer an information lunch, childcare provided, for all visitors and friends * Get contact info on all visitors/new members for adult classes, small groups, choirs to follow-up with personal invitations * Write newsletter or Web articles about or by new members * Support, strengthen, expand your young adult ministry * Do a nursery makeover * Print attractive brochures about your congregation * Mail postcard invitations to 3,000 households for Christmas Eve/Easter Services * Totally review your systems for guest welcoming, follow-through, invitations * Update your church website * Put Day School parents’ addresses on your mailing list, invite them to everything * Pray for people who do not attend your church by categories in church, by name in personal prayers * Follow-up on ALL visitors at Easter and Christmas with letters of welcome, invitations, and personal visits * Offer an invitation on Christian discipleship and/or church membership at every worship service * At every service let people know whom to contact about ministries and membership * Make posters for major ministry events, such as vacation Bible school, concerts, etc. , and post them in businesses, park bulletin boards, etc. * Update your Yellow Pages ad, make it stand out * Encourage adult classes to hold fellowship events and to invite beyond their active members * Have a “Baby Greeter” to welcome visitors with infants and show them the nursery, cry room, changing tables * Teach how to welcome visitors, in all adult classes and leadership teams * Teach people to introduce visitors to pastors and staff * Role play with inviting and welcoming newcomers with youth * Have intentionally visitor-friendly events with high quality music, worship, and fun * Add a visitors center in the entryway, foyer, or hallway * Plan social events specifically to encourage inviting visitors – a women’s lunch, mother/daughter banquet, etc. * Make your order of worship easy to follow, writing out the Lord’s Prayer, the Doxology, etc. * Hold a learning event for Bible study, adult class, and mission team leaders to emphasize inviting, welcoming, and follow-up * Send feedback cards to visitors, learn from the responses * Add a phone message to the church’s phone system with worship times and directions to the church * Invite the pastor or a lay leader from a church that excels in hospitality to speak to your team, church council, or an adult class. Listen and ask and learn * Teach members how to invite non-church acquaintances in their own way * Start a “Reading with the Pastor” book study, focusing on ideas that help churches grow * Help the pastor learn by supporting participation at workshops, seminars, etc. And help the congregation learn by reading, traveling, teaching, sharing.
Riskier, More Challenging Ideas
Send a team to visit another church that excels in hospitality, meet with their pastor or lay team. Ask, learn, borrow ideas * Attend a workshop or seminar on inviting others, visitor follow-up * Offer short-term studies on topics like debt, Alzheimer’s support, parenting and advertise in the community * Look at your neighborhood demographics and ask, “Why has God placed us here? Who is our neighbor?” Brainstorm about ministries to help * Reach out to single moms with a study group with great childcare at a time that is most helpful. If it doesn’t work, make changes and try again * Prepare an appealing bulletin board for the entryway with new ministry invitations and pictures of people * Hold a greeter training session to pray, prepare, and share ideas about how to welcome * Evaluate and expand your communications systems , attentive to non-members * Launch a new adult class . . . at least one each year * Consider special parking for visitors, moms and dads with babies, and handicapped accessibility * Remove or shorten a pew or two to make room for wheelchairs (and not just the last pew!) * Develop a van ministry for regular pick-up for retirement center residents, or for children * Consider radio spots, TV ads, billboards, direction signs from the highway, newspaper ads, mailings to get your message out and your ministries known * Become a community meeting place for organizations consistent with your mission (community concerts, Scout programs, AA groups, senior citizen ministries) * Host father/son barbecues and follow up with a three-week men’s study on a topic of interest .
Big, Bold, Audacious,Scary Ideas
Invite an evaluation on all systems for inviting, welcoming, and following-through with visitors from an outside consultant or a pastor with expertise * Study the demographics of your area and your church and recommend a long-term strategic plan to reach a wider section of the population * Remodel the main entryway to make it open, well-lit, inviting, warm, and appealing * Make your church truly handicapped accessible in all areas * Start an alternative worship service with quality and careful planning to reach a different constituency * If your church is strong, vibrant, growing, and wants a huge challenge, work with your denominational authorities to parent a new church start * Want edgy? Host a skateboarding contest on your sidewalks and parking lots as a community event focused on youth * Offer worship, fellowship, or learning ministries aimed at at unexpecting people – a Bikers Weekend, a Fishing Tournament, before the Prom, after football games * Develop a long-term plan to maximize the overall usefulness and attractiveness of the facility.