My Saddleback Observations Part 1: Their Greeters

So this past Sabbath Christina and I attended Saddleback Church’s Saturday service.  Over the next few days I wanted to share some observations with y’all.  Most things at Saddleback we could never duplicate because most our churches don’t have the resources.  There are however some small things, little touches that any church and any church member could do well with little or no money.  So enjoy my observations…and even a couple critiques that I will mention that affirmed the way we do things.

So today we start with things I observed about the greeters:

Christina and I arrived at the Saddleback campus and it is a campus!  I had been there before for a conference, but was interested to see if things that happened at the conference were stepped up a notch than the week in and week out activities of the church.  Would they still be as friendly?  Would there still be a large number of volunteers?  Would they still do their worship with excellence?  The answer to all three of these questions, was a resounding “yes”! 

Before Christina and I sat down we had been greeted four times by volunteers.  I want to share some things about this greeting that may help us and other churches with their process:

Greeters were positioned at their spots and they didn’t move from those spots!  Why did this matter? Because many churches I go into, a person never gets greeted or gets a side-glance greeting b/c greeters are so busy having conversations.  These people were not there to have conversations!  They were there to smile and welcome people.  So I like that they stay at their posts.  At the top of the steps from the parking lot. In the volunteer booth area.  At the doors to enter the foyer, and then the individual giving you the bulletin at the door to the sanctuary.  I counted only about 14 greeters this is very few considering more than 2000 folk pass by them for even their smallest service.  How does it work then?  Because they are strategically positioned and they hold their spots.  People can’t enter that church without passing a volunteer greeter.

Greeters were there to greet not to have conversations.  I mentioned this above but I want to expand on it.  The greeters basic purpose was to smile and say, “we are glad you are here.” In fact the first lady said, “I am glad you are here.” I thought her stating that in the singular pronoun “I”, rather than the “we” added a very personal touch. And on the way out there were several individuals that we passed by as we exited the sanctuary, again strategically positioned, that said, “we are glad you came, have a safe drive home” or “thank you for coming have a great evening!”  And everyone smiled a lot! 

Only one set of greeters gave out a bulletin and no one was missed because they were positioned right at the doors where everyone had to pass through and get one if they so desired. Also this was nice because the other greetings were casual and it didn’t feel like folk were saying “hi” only to get a bulletin into our hand. 

All of the things above any church can do.  If you are a small church you probably only have one or two entrances, which means you don’t need a ton of greeters.  If you’re a larger church this is even more important because there is no way the pastor can say “hi” or personally welcome each individual. We just need to help our greeters understand the importance of greeting!  That the worship service actually starts with the greeting!  I felt appreciated and that is a good thing, especially at church:)

Tomorrow I’ll share with you what I noticed about Saddleback’s Patio (basically their outdoor foyer).



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