Easter Sunday, and the whole of the Easter season, is always an opportunity for the parish, but never more so than this year, given the past two years of our COVID experience.
Whatever size or style of your parish you will be welcoming visitors and first-timers, not to mention parishioners returning to church for the first time in a long time. Why not take this opportunity to reconsider your guest experience? Ask these questions:
What is the experience of parking at your church like, especially for those unfamiliar with your campus? Is there clear directional signage? Handicapped parking? Visitor parking? Would it be possible to field a parking team for the spring, to help with traffic flow at the busiest times?
Greeting & Hospitality
How are guests greeted at your front door, or once inside the sanctuary? Are the public spaces, especially your lobby area, clean and free of clutter? Are there any opportunities/spaces for fellowship before and after Mass?
Do your pulpit and bulletin announcements acknowledge visitors? Is the preaching mindful of their presence? Is there a conscious, consistent effort on the part of the whole parish team to avoid any semblance of insider church-speak that definitely reminds newcomers they’re not members?
While it is never a good idea to call out newcomers, like asking them to stand, special accommodation can be offered for those wishing to identify themselves. Here at Nativity, we invite visitors to stop by our Welcome Center to receive a gift bag with Nativity swag. It is a small gift but one often enthusiastically received. A coupon for coffee (at church, if you have a coffee service after Mass, or at a nearby coffee shop if you don’t) can be a very nice touch, too.
Please consider the special opportunity this Easter offers your parish and how, with a little extra effort, you can make an impression on your guests.