Welcome To The Welcome TEam
Instructions for Welcome Team Members and the Worship Tech
Members of the Welcome Team are usually the first representatives of the church to meet people as they arrive for worship. This means you establish the mood that enables people to worship. Be friendly and respectful to every person — try to restore the dignity that society manages to trample each week. Be proactive in answering questions and in directing people to other areas of the church. When new people arrive they have standard questions: Where are the restrooms? Which way do I enter? Do I need a name tag? You help establish a warm, welcome, friendly feeling for strangers.
The Mt. Zion Welcome Teams fulfill the roles previously done by greeters and ushers at Sunday worship services, but they also assist at other Mt. Zion functions, such as weddings, funerals, and community fellowship events.
Although we all like to chat with friends and members of our church family, your primary job is to help guests. If you are in the middle of a conversation with another Mt. Zion member, and a guest approaches or you see that someone needs assistance, excuse yourself and help the other person.
Get a Welcome Team tag and your name tag. The Welcome Team tags are on the general-purpose table in the narthex (if not, check the basket on that table). They say “Welcome Team” on them and clip on. These identify you to newcomers as a person who has the answers and can help them. Your name tag further identifies you as a Mt. Zion member — plus, people feel more comfortable with someone when they have a name. Regardless of the event, you always need your name tag and Welcome Team tag.
The Welcome Team at Sunday Worship
Station yourself at a Welcome Team position. Each position needs only one person, so do not double up until all positions are covered. The positions to cover for a regular Sunday service (in order of priority) are:
- The set of doors at the top of the stairs at the main entrance (greet)
- The set of doors at the front entrance (hand out bulletins)
- The set of sanctuary side doors (hand out bulletins, but also assist anyone coming in the front doors)1
- The set of doors at the bottom of the stairs at the main entrance (greet and assist)
If a position is getting low traffic, leave it open. If a position is getting overwhelmed (too many people need help with name tags, for example) ask someone else who has been trained for the Welcome Team if they can help out.
While you are greeting:
Be friendly. Greet and welcome people! Yours is the first interaction a person normally has when visiting Mt. Zion. Imagine you are showing up at a strange church for the first time—how would you want to be treated?
Help people with doors.
Assist visitors and persons with handicaps. Help them feel comfortable by directing them to coat racks and restrooms (and childcare during the 10:30 service). Ask visitors to sign the guest book.
Offer to help with coats.
Offer to help with packages. Some folks struggle to bring in canned goods, cleaning supplies, or whatever. Sometimes our hearts are strong, but our backs are weak.
After the service starts:
Normally you should sit in the back pew where you can observe what happens in the sanctuary. If you need to sit elsewhere (say, to be with family members) that’s fine, but you still need to be able to fulfill your other duties.
Keep an eye open for late-comers. Make sure they get a bulletin and make them feel comfortable that being late is okay — we’re just glad they could make it.
Watch for people with problems. For example, a guest who suddenly gets up in the middle of the service may need to know where the nearest bathroom is, and quickly! Or someone with a crying child who gets up should be directed to the area in the narthex with a rocking chair and children’s activities.
Take up the offering (as the ushers used to do). Proceed to the front of the church as a group after the pastor announces the offering, take the plates from the acolyte or pastor, then split up so that one person covers each side of the pews. Normally you will only need to lean in to receive an offering, but if the pew is full you may need to pass the plate down (and your opposite number will do the same in the pew immediately in front or behind). Be sure to make eye contact with the people who make their offerings and give them a smile and a grateful look — it’s their contributions that make Mt. Zion function! After the offering is collected, two members of the team proceed to the front of the church and give the plates to the acolyte or pastor.
On the final hymn, open the doors to the sanctuary.
The Worship Tech handles the lights and the head counting. If the Worship Tech is missing or late, ask for help or fill in for those duties (see The Worship Tech section).
After the service ends:
Do a quick walk-through of the pews to collect bulletins or personal items that may have been left behind.
The Welcome Team at Christmas and Easter
Christmas and Easter bring people who do not come to church very often — and lots of them.
Be ready for a crowd of people, many of whom do not know the “rules” (or thought they did, when they were last in church two years earlier) and need patient help and guidance.
The “Reserved for Ushers” pew in the back? Not so much on high holy days. Be ready to sit on folding chairs.
Some people may say there’s no place to sit (even when offered the last pew). They may be right, in which case you need to grab some folding chairs from the Fellowship Hall to set up in the back. Or you may need to politely ask some folks to scoot down the pew a little to let someone else in, or offer to hang up coats that are taking up space.
The Worship Tech
The Worship Tech normally is only needed at Sunday services, but may be required for special functions. As Worship Tech, you will be ready to perform the following functions:
Before the service starts:
Make sure the sound system is turned on.
Assist with the handicapped elevator if needed.
Check the oil level in the candle lighter and assist the acolyte as needed.
Make sure all necessary lights are turned on. If the altar candle lights are already turned on, leave them on (that switch also controls an extra outlet near the altar that may be in use); otherwise, turn on the altar lights when the acolyte lights the second candle.
Make sure that all the Welcome Team spots are filled in the proper priority. If priority spots are empty, redirect Welcome Team members or ask for a volunteer to help out.
If the sanctuary is filling up, deputize anyone available and grab chairs from the Fellowship Hall before we run out of pews. And take down the ropes from the last pew on the left and let the regular folks sit there; the Welcome Team can get folding chairs.
After the service starts:
Turn off lights B & C at the start of the sermon and back on as the sermon ends. (The pastor may have special instructions, depending on the service.)
Count attendance and fill in the attendance slip (in the back left pew or the acolyte closet); put the slip in with the offering.
Turn off the alter candle lights as the acolyte extinguishes the second candle.
After the service ends:
Turn off the sound system.
The Welcome Team at Funerals and Weddings
Special events are different from Sunday services. At a Sunday service, most people you meet will know what they are doing since they have been there before; at a wedding or funeral, most of the people there have probably never been to Mt. Zion before. Many of them may never even have been in a church before. Be ready for confusion.
Station yourself at a Welcome Team position. Normally these will be the same positions as Sunday services, but the priorities may be different. For example, there may be ushers who are pert of the wedding party who will take care of handing out bulletins, leaving the Welcome Team able to “float” as guides and assistants. If a large number of people are expected, there may also be the need for someone stationed in the parking lot to direct traffic. Depending on the crowd, there may need to be more than one person at a position.
- Main entrance doors (greet and assist)
- [if a large number attend] Parking lot (direct traffic)
- Top of main entrance steps (greet, assist, and direct)
- Area near the sanctuary side doors and front entrance (greet, assist, and direct; some people may need directions to the Fellowship Hall)
Community events are a chance to show Mt. Zion as a community of fellowship.
People will be coming as guests who have never been to Mt. Zion for worship, or even in a church at all. If they have a good impression of Mt. Zion when we host events such as Holy Heat or the Crab Cake Dinners, they may be curious enough to visit us on Sunday at a worship service. Their first impressions will be formed by the Welcome Team. The people who host the event will be concerned about getting food ready, so hospitality is up to you.
Station yourself at a Welcome Team position.
If the event is in the Fellowship Hall:
- Entrance to the Fellowship Hall (greet and point out bathrooms, which can be confusing to guests)
- Inside Fellowship Hall (assist guests with finding food areas or finding a table seat)