How Can The Worship Leader Welcome The Newcomer?
As a worship leader you have a major part to play in weather or not a newcomer feels welcome.
The facility, the greeters, and the pastor are all contributing factors but you may be the difference between someone feeling on the outside of an exclusive club or invited into an awesome family.
Our hope, our desire, is that the Lord would add to our church. We want to see first time attenders entering our church doors on a regular basis.
People who are new in town. People who came with friends or family. People who haven’t been to a church in years. And of course, people who have never been to church before.
Here are 4 ways a worship leader can contribute towards a welcoming experience.
1) Introduce Yourself
I remember the first time my Pastor suggested I introduce myself from time to time during a worship service. The thought had literally never entered my mind.
It makes a lot of sense. There may be some who don’t know me. Am I the regular worship leader? A guest? An Assistant Pastor?
There are a lot of things a worship leaders can do to be personable and relational with their church. This is a great place to start.
2) Welcome Newcomers Specifically
This may happen again at another time in the service but it may fall to you to welcome the people as they're entering or after you’ve begun.
Acknowledge newcomers specifically by saying something like “Hey, welcome everyone, it’s great to have you here today. If you’re a guest or visiting for the first time, welcome. It’s wonderful to have you! We’d love the chance to meet you today.”
3) Give Specific Instruction
Throughout a worship time a lot of things can happen.
Receiving an offering
Greeting people around you
Participating in a reading
Often times the worship leader is involved. Think through how you may be able to give subtle instruction through these times.
“Lets all stand together”
“You can be seated”
“Take a moment, silently in your heart, to offer your own prayer of thanksgiving”
“In a moment the ushers will come to distribute the Communion elements”
“Lets all read aloud together”
Don’t assume everyone knows how your tradition does things. Giving instruction goes a long way in helping newcomers feel safe and welcome.
4) Offer Explanations
Training our church in the how and why of musical, sung worship is a continual process. Again, don’t assume people understand why we are singing. What expressions of worship are encouraged. The Scriptural basis for a song or the theological concept being sung.
Giving an explanation for every element of a worship service would be exhausting and ultimately, not very helpful. Start by preparing a simple explanation for one element each week.
Some newcomers may be lifelong Christians but Lord willing some will be people who don’t yet know the Lord.
We’d like to think everyone has the spiritual maturity and discernment to attend and continue attending a church for substantial reasons like it's theology, community, and their spiritual health. That just isn’t the case.
If fact the Bible tells us that without being born again and awakened by the Spirit of God we are dead. Our eyes are closed. For this person, something as simple as feeling welcome may make all the difference in weather or not they return.
Do you agree or disagree with the worship leader's role as a welcomer?
How do you help people feel welcome in your church?
Share in the comments below!