Church Launch Must-Haves | A Welcoming Atmosphere
August 17, 2015

To bring further insight into the possibilities of a portable church, let’s break down our previous blog post “7 Things Your Church Location Must Have If You Want A Successful Launch”. 

Even if the facility is immaculate, the music is amazing, and the sermon is inspiring, the connections that new visitors make with existing members is ultimately what will help them grow into fruitful members of your church community. As mentioned earlier in this series, you only have 7 minutes to make an impression. Environments and the tone your people set are huge. We understand that many venues (such as a school with cinderblock walls) might not provide a welcoming atmosphere by themselves. However, it’s easy to turn a venue into the environment you want it to be.

Be Hospitable

We’ve worked with many churches that have chosen to set up a cafe in the lobby of their church in order to offer new and existing members coffee and treats. Who doesn’t love free coffee or hot chocolate? Make your visitors feel welcome by offering them something special. Having all areas easy to find through signage is a big must, however, having people strategically placed to answer questions is also important. One church we work with has its volunteers wearing an “ask me” tag every week. Parking lot attendants make a welcoming statement, as does dedicated parking for ‘solo’ parents or expectant mothers.

Cheerful Volunteers

Sometimes, you feel like you can’t be picky when it comes to manpower. Many volunteers are required on the technology and children’s ministry teams to make things run, but ‘hospitality’ volunteers are the frontline and first impression people consciously or subconsciously make assessments by. Ideally, these are the social butterflies of your congregation or people that are mission-minded. You know the people we’re talking about: those remarkable individuals who never meet a stranger, are bound to find common ground with anyone and can make an outside visitor feel at home. Place these volunteers outside the building (if the weather allows) and in your lobby to greet any new faces that walk through the door. Remind your volunteers to be acutely aware of those coming in the doors. This team is not just your welcoming team, they are your missionaries, placed at the doors to create opportunities to connect people to the church and to the kingdom. Have your team pray as they welcome everyone that walks through the doors. If they encounter a new individual, have them circle back around and potentially sit near them. If the opportunity arises (or they can create a comfortable opportunity) re-engage after the service and get to know them and connect them to others. You will have plenty of introverted newcomers so adjust the approach accordingly.

Great Environments

Just like houses most often sell better when they are ‘staged’, be sure to ‘stage’ all your areas in a way that communicates that you care about your church, and about the people coming through the doors. Keep the environments clean, place a concierge basket in the bathrooms with mints, nice soaps, hand towels, and the pastor’s business cards.

Pastors

Advertise your personal Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope accounts. Allow people a little look into your world and help them connect with you. Use these tools to build your congregation and continue your message throughout the week, or engage with people through them to have them ask questions on next week’s topic. This can create a new level of interest in next week’s sermon, or maybe even give a you a cue into what people are needing to hear. If you are an extroverted pastor you will likely have no issue engaging with people after service. However if you are more introverted, even patting people on the shoulder with a quick ‘hey’ speaks volumes to your attenders.

Pulling It All Together

Throughout this series, we’ve discussed parking, signage, restroom facilities, children’s ministry, seating, and technology. Each of these are important in planning and launching your new church. Does everything stand behind a common theme and vision? It’s true that there are many little parts that make up a church, and each of these pieces requires consideration and attention. However, at the end of the day, your church should be about the people in your community. Keep this in mind in every area of your church, and strive to create an environment that will ultimately bring people closer to God.

Now over to you! If you have planted a church, what are some ways you have made your new visitors feel at home?

Want more tips and statistics on how to choose and use your church facility to its full potential? Download our FREE eBook, Choosing The Right Facility For Your Portable Church. Learn to avoid the mistakes that others have made and make your launch an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Choosing The Facility For Your Portable Church