Do Your Guests Know You’re Expecting Them?

By Mark Waltz


This really happened to me.

I walked into a restaurant early in the lunch hour. Like 11:00. Surveying the place, I saw, well, nothing. Lots of open tables. And still I was told “give me just a couple of minutes and we’ll have a table for you.” I could see at least 1,200 seating options. But I waited.

As I sat down I intuitively wiped bread crumbs from the table into the floor and thought “this doesn’t make sense. There’s no way there have been other customers in here for lunch already.” Of course, the mess had to have been left over from the night before. We then learned that the coffee and tea were still brewing.

Bottom-line? This staff wasn’t ready for us. They weren’t really expecting customers – not this early any way.

How about your church? is it apparent that you’re expecting new people? Here are some simple ways to communicate “we’ve been expecting your…

  • a core of people who know church isn’t all about them – but about others, so they..
    • give up their front parking spaces
    • move to the center of the row, leaving the aisle seats open
    • greet people around them – even when they’re not “on” as an usher or greeter
    • invite their friends to join them
  • parking attendants in the parking lot
  • greeters at entry doors and ushers throughout the building
  • signage that points to “new family children’s area” or “guest services”
  • a verbal welcome from the front of the room that includes (without embarrassing) new guests
  • a program/bulletin that speaks to new people, using “normal” language
  • visible, accessible “on-ramps” that help new people connect and grow

When your guests show up will they think, “Wow! They acted like they were expecting me… and they were happy about it”… or will they feel as if they’ve crashed a party they weren’t invited to attend?

How are you planning for and expecting new guests at your church?

From the website, October 2009