Businesses are great at practicing that which we Christians should excel at when it comes to church growth: hospitality. In the business world, it’s called “customer service”—those actions that employees take to go out of their way to serve their customers to make the shopping and buying experience easy, comfortable, and memorable. When customers have a great experience with a business or brand, they are more likely to remain a customer and continue shopping there.
The same principles apply in our churches, only the term we use is “hospitality,” and it’s a biblical command! The Greek word used for “hospitality” in Hebrews 13:2, literally translated, is “to love strangers.” Every church gathering presents a new opportunity to live out this command.
In the church’s case, we’re not interested in selling trinkets; we’re interested in souls being saved! When newcomers feel welcomed, accepted, and integrated, they are more likely to return to our church and grow in their relationships with Jesus and others.
The principles of outreach and retention are the same whether for business or church: We must extend gracious hospitality to strangers who come in our doors to see our numbers grow.
Realm Makes Hospitality Easy and Effective
Realm is a terrific tool to help you stay on target with assimilating and integrating newcomers into the congregation.
First, outline your church’s specific steps for welcoming newcomers. Make sure you include every aspect of how you want a new visitor to experience your congregation, including personal communication, gift-giving, attendance at a new members’ class, and, finally, joining the church.
Do you give first-time visitors a book, homemade cookies, or fresh-baked bread? Will your pastor give them a personal welcome call the week after they worship? Does your Connections Coordinator send a series of welcome emails? Do you want to make sure every family member has a place in a small group?
Once you’ve got all of the unique steps outlined, use Pathways in Realm to create a customized follow-up process for every new person who walks in the door.
In Pathways, you can break down the steps into individual assignments and delegate those to specific people. For example, if the pastor makes a follow-up phone call the week after a newcomer’s first visit, the pastor would be assigned that step in the individual’s Pathway.
Using Pathways in Realm, staff, and leaders will be able to stay on top of a newcomer’s integration experience. Pathways helps the church be more hospitable because people will feel seen, known, and connected. Is there any better way to “love strangers” than that?
If your church’s membership is shrinking, you have visitors who never return, or you don’t really see that many newcomers anyway, check your hospitality efforts. Using Pathways in Realm will help you create and execute an easy and effective way to welcome strangers who eventually become members of your church family.
Get Realm for Your Church Today
Realm helps the staff, leaders, and members of your church become fully integrated into the life and work of the church. Through its dynamic platform and multi-purpose components, Realm keeps communication open, offers opportunities for everyone to find their ideal fit, and makes people feel embraced into the fabric of the church.
Get Realm and watch your church community come together, growing and thriving as one for God’s glory.
Find out more about Realm and how it can work for your church!