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Preparing Your Church for Holiday Visitors
While it may seem like the ministry year just got started, before we all know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and your church will be caught up in planning special events, Christmas Eve services, and more. So before the crazy “holi-daze” set
in, here are five areas of your church to review and update to help your Christmas visitors feel more welcome and comfortable at church.
- Your Greeting Team - Visitors to your church may be completely unfamiliar with churches in general and that is where a good greeter can help ease anxiety and make them feel welcome and comfortable. Your greeting
team is important to making the best first impression, so make sure your team is well trained and on point as you enter the holiday season. Consider a group meeting to talk about the season and get buy-in from the whole team.
- Your Information Area - Similar to your greeting team, your information table needs to be staffed with friendly people who can answer questions and make your visitors feel welcome. It’s also important to have the
area clearly identified with a banner or sign.
Many visitors may be cautious about providing too much personal information on their first visit, so volunteers should be sensitive to asking too many probing questions. Instead, offer easy answers, helpful flyers or brochures,
and a nice visitor gift.
- Children’s and Youth Areas - The most important thing to parents is that their children are well cared for, so extra attention to your nursery, children’s and youth rooms is an important step in preparing for visitors.
Parents want to ensure their kids are safe, rooms are clean and that any dietary restrictions are adhered to. It also helps to have an area that is cheerful, modern and fun. Fortunately, there is a large selection of inexpensive
tools you can use to turn a drab area into something fun and attractive to both parents and their kids. Click here to see great ideas for kids of all ages.
For nursery and small children’s classes make sure you have enough well-trained volunteers for the increase in attendance during the holiday season - especially for check-in and pickup. Provide parents with written information
on your security measures, how you will contact them if they are needed during the service and the procedure for picking up their little ones.
For older kids, be sure you have planned to get new kids involved in activities and ask a couple of your regular-attending children to make extra efforts to befriend the new ones so they won’t feel left out.
- Interior Decor and Signs - Decorating for the holidays is a tradition not only in homes but also in churches. But when you are planning for visitors during the Advent season, not only should your church look festive,
it should also be inspiring and informative. Fortunately there are inexpensive ways to both decorate your church and direct your visitors:
Outdoor Signs and Banners - It’s easy to get caught up in making sure the inside of your building is ready for visitors but the outside is important too. If a visitor can’t find parking, isn’t sure where to go,
or needs physical assistance - they may turn right around and leave if the outside area isn’t accommodating.
- Start with directional banners. Words like "Refreshments," "information," "Children,"
and even just "Welcome" give visitors the information they need quickly so they aren't left feeling lost.
- Add on inspirational banners for the season that feature scripture verses around
the weeks of Advent or as stand alone verses about Jesus’ birth.
- Finish by decorating your hallways, seating areas or classrooms for the holidays. Tools like the adhesive wall banners or holiday themed Canvas Prints are a great
way to give your walls an instant update without breaking the budget.
There are a variety of tools you can use outdoors. Custom banners can share important service times to passing traffic. Attractive flag banners and light pole banners can
make your parking lots more friendly and direct drivers to special visitor parking areas. Hand held greeting signs can be used outside to welcome people to your building, and connect them with a friendly face who can direct
them to the worship center or children’s areas.
Take these few steps in preparation for the holidays and your church will be a more welcoming and festive place for your Christmas visitors.