Many real estate agents tell home owners that the three most important considerations for buyers are “location, location, location.” So it is with Sabbath School.
Some ministry leaders have suggested that we divide our foyer ministry into five activities: driveway/parking lot, church door, reception desk, sanctuary door, and seating. In this way six or more greetings are extended.
Greeters ensure that adequate close parking is available for guests, welcome guests at the main church entrance, provide them with bulletins at the reception desk, and escort them to a seat -- where they are welcomed by other members, who will help them feel especially welcome in Sabbath School
A Crucial Point
Respect every person. People may return to church or never come back, depending on how warmly they feel welcomed by greeters. The love of Jesus must shine through the faces of our Sabbath School greeters in all their locations. Smile!
Greet members and warmly shake their hand. Look directly at them and say, “Happy Sabbath! I’m glad to see you again.”
Greet guests cheerfully, saying, “Happy Sabbath! Welcome to our Sabbath School.” While shaking hands, introduce yourself. After guests say their names, say, “I’m so glad you’re worshiping with us today. We would be happy to have your name in our guest book.” Thank them for signing the guest book. Hand them a “welcome” token and a church bulletin. Then introduce them to greeters at the sanctuary door.
A Little Greeting in Their Pocket
Design a business card, bearing a picture of your church, a warm welcoming message, meetings and times, and a telephone number and address. Write your name on the back so that recipients have a contact person. Have selected members distribute the cards during Sabbath School. Tell guests about special upcoming Sabbath School or church programs.
Follow up. Get to know guests better and create more fellowship time. Be sensitive to missing members. Don’t guess why people do not attend Sabbath School. Immediately visit missing members. Give the names of guests and missing members to the pastor or elders for inclusion in the prospect list for visitation and future activities.
Keep it cozy. Small classes facilitate fellowship and greater participation. “Cozy” encourages people to open up about life experiences, including their joys and sorrows. “Cozy” will foster love and understanding, and encouragement and support to one another will be easier.
Encourage Sabbath School classes to meet in small-group ministries sometime during the week. Taking time to meet, study, pray, and share with each other strengthens fellowship. By building strong fellowship bonds, held together by His love, no one will leave the church!
A Personal Experience
Once when my pastor held evangelistic meetings, he requested that I serve as a greeter. On opening night I noticed three young men standing outside the church fence, near the main door. I walked over to them and with a warm smile invited them into the church. They declined! I tried to explain to them that we had a good program, but they were still reluctant to enter the church. After I explained that the lesson would bring them real happiness, however, they came inside. The next evening they stood once more outside the fence. When I invited them in, they went directly into the church. By the third evening they entered the church without an invitation or an escort. And we greeted them warmly. At the end of the evangelistic series, all three young men were baptized. Later they attended our college. Today one of them is a college professor and another one is an academy principal.
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists