Over the past few weeks I have been paying extra attention to how ministers, service leaders and worship leaders introduce themselves at church services, prayer meetings and ministry events. Given that it is a new year, there is a high chance that visitors are testing out a church or ministry for the first time so a good introduction is important. But I have noticed that there are some simple phrases that people say or don’t say that may sound odd to a visitor. When standing in front of a group, think about how a first time visitor hears what you say.
Here are a few tips on introducing yourself at your next church or ministry event:
- Expect visitors – even if you know that nobody in the room is a visitor introduce yourself as though there are visitors present. This will not only train you to make it a habit but also train the congregation that visitors are to be expected.
- You are not a celebrity – never ever say “my name is _____ if you haven’t met me yet”. You are not the centre of attention so don’t make it about people who haven’t met you yet, it implies that everybody knows you. It is better to warmly state your name and your place in the church/ministry/congregation such as “my name is _____ and I am a member of this church/congregation”.
- Don’t assume anything – sometimes we assume that people remember what we did last week or assume that people were attending last week. We can’t assume that everybody knows the service order or how we run our prayer meetings. If you expect visitors then expect people to be a bit confused as to when to sit, stand, kneel, sing etc.
- Stay positive and energetic – it is important to kick off the service or meeting with a lot of energy just like it takes a lot of energy to get an aeroplane off the ground. If you are the first person to stand in front of the group give a positive and energetic welcome. We know that some people have had a bad week but they don’t need to reminded of it with a boring welcome to church.
- Thank people and affirm people – often we take people for granted, we need to thank people for attending our ministry events, church services and prayer meetings. You don’t need to list all the things they could be doing instead of coming to church, don’t give them any ideas for not attending, but you need to be aware of what people give up to come along.
Whilst this might seem simple enough, the welcome and introduction are often overlooked when planning a gathering of God’s people. If you are not the service leader or minister in your church, then perhaps you can pass this post onto them. My hope is that churches expect visitors to come every week and that when they do come, visitors feel warmly welcomed.