Strategies for Hospitality

Cast a Vision & Create a Culture

Welcoming is the task of everyone to make every other person’s experience extraordinary.   It starts with an initiative from the pastor and his leadership team that permeates to all parishioners.

There should be a hospitality protocol in place measurable through all ministries at the parish.

Hospitality starts online

  • Is the parish online information updated, so search engines can promptly show the correct address and Mass times? 

  • Is the parish’s website active, and friendly? 

  • Are you using social media as a way to reach out to more people? Facebook feeds should be updated two or three times a week, with an intentional target message.  

  • Warm and inviting pictures are the most effective to attract visitors and reflect a hospitality culture.

First Ten Minutes

The first ten minutes matter the most. Try to walk and review every step visitors and parishioners experience at the church from the moment they arrive:

  • Signage:  Is it attractive or easy to find?  What is the first thing people see when they come in to the parish?  Is it welcoming?  Are there especially reserved parking space for visitors?

  • Church Entrance: Is it easy to find the right door to come in?

  • Greeters: Are they wearing nametags, and are they smiling?  Are their nametags friendly and easy to read? Asking some greeters to open doors and greet on the outside as well, weather considering, is also very effective in welcoming people as they come in.  

  • Welcoming Kiosk: Visible and easy to reach welcome and information kiosk for guests and parishioners.

  • Usher representation: Are your ushers representing the different ages and cultures of the parish?  (Men/women/ young adults/youth).  Help the ushers have a mind of hospitality as one of their tasks.

  • Welcome message at the beginning of Mass: Not only reading a message but a genuine welcoming, especially if it is a welcoming by the priest.

  • Greeting in the pews: Making newcomers stand or identify themselves might be embarrassing for people.  A greeting to someone you don’t know is more effective if it’s  accompanied by an exchange of names with the purpose of praying for that person during Mass; giving an opportunity to elevate  each other in prayer during the prayers of the faithful.

  • Exit moment: Thank people and send them with a feeling of warm greeting as they leave, both from the podium, and from volunteer greeters at the doors.  

  • Train leaders and key volunteers: Make sure the ushers and the welcoming committee have the right people in the right roles. If necessary, enrich and redirect volunteers to other ministries where they would serve better.

Special Hospitality Efforts for Christmas and Easter

Welcome Messages: Sincere welcoming, avoiding any reproachable messages for not attending Mass or connecting with the parish during the year.

Prepare your parishioners to embrace and greet everyone present; reserve parking spaces for visitors by encouraging carpooling, walking or distant parking for parishioners; give parishioners greeting strategies; explain to them in advance the “whys”, through special bulletin notes or on the parish website, and of course via the ministry leaders.

 

Socialization opportunities: Provide snacks or Easter treats for everyone after every Mass.

 

Follow-up and next steps: Make your logo and branding is attractive for newcomers.  Prepare special brochures about the parish, ministries, and have an invitation for follow-up and offer a non-threatening and evangelizing “next step”, that could be attractive and meaningful for newcomers or non-frequent churchgoers.

Archdiocese of Atlanta - Office of Formation and Discipleship
2401 Lake Park Dr. SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
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