Thursday, 30 July 2009

New welcome strategy aims to increase attendance

Friendliness advice is now on offer for parishes, as a new resource pack is released to help churches encourage visitors to become regular worshippers.
New welcome strategy aims to increase attendance

The Everybody Welcome package includes a leader’s manual, booklets for members, and a DVD of interviews and footage demonstrating the effects of a good welcome. The course gives tips such as: train a dedicated ‘Welcome Team’ to look out for newcomers, analyse whether the service is sufficiently engaging, and check the quality of post-service refreshments.

The course has been designed by the Archdeacon of Walsall, the Ven Bob Jackson, and Lichfield’s director of Parish Mission, George Fisher. Archdeacon Jackson said: “The first hurdle for visitors is are we going to find friendliness when we turn up? And I think in most churches, and certainly the better ones, they do. The big problem is how to get in. Anyone can attend a service, but how do you start belonging to a church community?”

The course gives advice on how to make a variety of people feel comfortable, including the bald, overweight and alcoholic. It also offers education on basic social skills, such as the importance of making eye contact, smiling and finding out people’s names. Read more
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