Teaching volunteers to treat people well can be tricky. Some people have an innate ability to warmly welcome someone and make them instantly feel at home. Others of us have to work at it. Nevertheless, everyone should strive to make visitors at our churches feel welcome.
Treating people well is a heart issue because if you don’t love people, they’ll see right through your actions. Still, some of us have pure hearts full of love, but haven’t learned the behaviors which help people feel welcome and valued. We need to train them to show His love.
It doesn’t matter if you’re training a greeter, small group leader, associate pastor, secretary or anyone else. Everyone in the body of Christ should know how to treat people well.
Here’s a simple mnemonic device to help people treat others the right way and show them the love of Jesus.
Teach people to use their E.A.R.S. and they’ll show His love to everyone they meet.
Engage—Seek people out, smile, make eye contact, shake hands, greet and welcome them. They are the visitors, you are the regulars. It’s your job to go to them. Like Jesus said, “Go to the world,” so don’t sit around waiting for them. The second someone enters your area go and welcome them.
Ask Questions—Get to know people and show empathy. Everyone has a story. Find out who they are, what they need and what they want. Learn to ask open-ended questions and to avoid yes or no questions. Open ended questions start conversations and most people enjoy talking about themselves. Yes or no questions can leave you with awkward silences. Avoid them.
Sample Open Ended Questions
- What did you do this weekend?
- Where are you from?
- What brings you here?
- What line of work are you in?
- What was it like growing up in ____?
Receive as Guests—Serve others, treat them well, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and give them your full attention. There’s something about service that connects us with Christ. Jesus said that we should serve like He served. He mentions in Matthew 25 that serving the least connects us with Him because we serve Him as we serve them. Go the extra mile and do more than is required or expected.
Send Them Away Happy—Give people a warm goodbye. Make sure they have what they need, know where they are going and why they are going there. Let them know that their presence is important to you and you recognize when they leave. Don’t let anyone slide out the side door if you can help it. Don’t embarrass people, but make sure they know you value them.
Use your E.A.R.S. with all people; don’t just use EARS on new people. Everyone deserves to be treated well.