Lori Emison ClairDirector ofCongregationalLifeFirst UnitarianChurch of DesMoinesdcl@ucdsm.orgCertifiedMembership446
Chalice LightingCommon wisdom holds that peoplecome to church for a sense ofbelonging, and that getting involvedwith a committee or a task force is agreat way to meet people and feelmore connected. You do meet peoplewhile serving on a committee, andyes, working together in commonpurpose can create these bonds. Butperhaps this is not really the reasonwhy people come to church. Thoughit is often why they say they come, Ithink there is an even deeperreason—to have their livestransformed.- Serving with Grace by Erik WalkerWikstrom
Making it Real….Can you think of a time when the greetingsomeone received at your congregationtransformed their life?
In Our Time TogetherMy GoalsShare one example of a visitor processThink together about the transformative implicationsof truly welcoming someone into your congregationHelp you find one thing you can take home andimplement
Before they even walk in the door…Web siteEase in finding building/ front doorParkingService times advertised/rarely changedDo visitor know what to expect….
Find a Fresh Set of EyesConsider having a mystery visitor provide feedback: Were visitors greeted when they visited? Is the Welcome table clearly marked? Are the Greeters identifiable? Are the bulletin boards up to date? Are the bathrooms clearly marked?
One Example of a Visitor Process Welcome Letter from the Minister Welcome phone call from a member Invited to attend First Steps Class (Monthly) Invited to Get Acquainted Gathering (2x Yr) Receive a electronic visitor survey at 3 months Receive an anniversary phone call
Walking in the door Welcomed by a greeter at all doors Offered a name tag Offered a welcome packet Asked to complete a connection card If they have young children they are given options If they have school aged children they are connected with RE Facilitator for a tour If time remains, the greeter completes a hand off
Name Tags 1st visit-sticker name tag When they complete Connection Card- transitional name tag Members- hard plastic name tag with year of membership
Welcome PacketsDirector of Congregational Life business cardMembership BrochureUUA Elevator Speeches BrochureUUA FAQ BrochureSeven Principles Book MarkBasic UU sermonCopy of UU worldParking informationReligious Education booklet (Children and Adults)Small Group Ministry brochureSocial Justice brochureUnity Circle brochurePass for free dinner at Wednesday night Programming
Connection CardCONNECTIONS CARD Help us connect...PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY □ Small Group Ministry □ Hospitality MinistryDate_______________ □ Caring Ministry (please circle choice)Name(s)_____________________________________ need help give help_____________________________________________ □ Choir (please circle choice)Address ____________________________________ children adults bell_____________________________________________ □ I would like to receive the weekly email.City, state, zip_______________________________ □ I would like to start receiving the weekly children’s Religious Education email.Home _______________________________________ □ Young Adult Group (ages 18-35)Work _______________________________________ □ Becoming a memberCell #s ______________________________________ □ Other _____________________________________Email _______________________________________ Any Comments/Concerns?□ Please check box if change in information ________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________□ I would like a name tag ____________Children’s names and Please put completed card in the basket as you exit the Auditorium or turn in at DOB_____________________________________________ Visitor’s Table in Gathering Space._____________________________________________ Thank You!□1st time visitor □ visitor First Unitarian Church of Des Moines□ pledging friend □ member Office Use Only - Route to:How did you learn about our church? □ Update Power Church □ DRE_______________________________________ □ Update Constant Contact □ Minister □ DCL □ Adult Music/Children’s Music
Greeter Check List Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the service and put on a Greeter badge. Remember if time is short the most important thing is to invite them to find a seat and invite them back to the Welcome Desk after the service. Check Visitor Table- Do you have enough supplies? Is it neat and orderly? At least 1 Greeter should remain at the Welcome Desk for the first 10 minutes of the service to watch for late visitors. Offer them a nametag to fill out, first and last name if possible. Greeters should return to the welcome table slightly before the service ends and Offer them a visitor folder and briefly explain the contents. remain for at least 10 minutes. Invite them to complete a Connection Card. Explain this will get them a Mingle/chat with persons using maroon cups. i.e. I am so glad you came. I letter from the minister, invites to visitor events, and our weekly e-mail hope you enjoyed your visit with us today and come back soon. I have newsletter. been a member since... How did you come to visit us today? Tell them about coffee hour and invite them to use the maroon mugs. All completed Connection Cards should be given to Lori, Dave, or placed in office assistant’s mail slot in the office. Inform guests most of our responsive readings and ritual songs are printed in the Order of Service. f they have children, introduce them to the RE Facilitators who will tell them what’s happening that day. Introduce them to Lori or Dave, if time permits.
Welcome during the serviceWelcomeGood morning and Welcome to the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines. My name is _____________________. I am a member of this church and serve __________________________________. I welcome all of you to church this afternoon, whether this is your first time here or this is a familiar place for you.I would like to take a moment and offer a special welcome to those who are visiting here today.I would like to direct your attention to the Connections Cards found in the Order of Service (show sample card). We encourage all of our visitors to complete one, as well as our members and friends who have had a change of information or would like to be connected to one of our many programs. To save paper we reuse the cards, so please leave the cards completed or blank in the basket at the back of the auditorium or on the welcome table.There is a time for Refreshments & Conversation immediately following the service in the Gathering Area between the Lobby and Channing Hall. You are invited to join us.If you have questions, or would like more information about this Church, please stop by the welcome table located in the Lobby where someone will be available to help you and provide you information on the abundant opportunities to engage in this community.I’m delighted you are here today and that we could be together.
Welcome Phone callThe goal of the visitor phone call is: To make guest feel attended to and welcome. To solicit information about the guest: how and why they found First Unitarian, how they feel about their visit, whether or not they might come back. To offer information to the guest: brief information regarding specific areas of interest, how they might pursue them, and responses to questions. To invite them back for specific events: events you might know of that are coming up soon and would be of interest to visitors in general or to them specifically based on something you have learned of them. Let them know about SGM if they seem to have a serious interest. To record information received and given during the call, for use with future follow up.Calls should be brief and conducted in the callers own style, without seeming to read a script. Proving an authentic experience is the most important thing you can do. Follow the guest lead as far as how long the call should last or how detailed the conversation should be. Be sure to leave your name and number in case they want to call you back (or Lori’s # 453-2999, if you prefer). Take notes and record the information on this form immediately afterwards. Return to Lori the next time you are at church.1.) Introduce yourself; ask them if you have called at a good time. If not, offer to try back at a time they suggest. Let them know you are calling from the First Unitarian Church to see if they enjoyed their visit, and wonder if they might share their impressions? It is also important to ask if they have any questions, or would like more information about our church.2.) Information to solicit: a.) How did they hear about us? b.) Was this their first time to First Unitarian or a UU church? c.) Are there any questions they have or any programs they would like to learn more about?3.) Thank them for their time and invite them to return either to Sunday service or another program you know of that might interest them.
First Steps ClassIntroductions: Open words from Hymnal #580Sharing Circle: What path (Spiritual or otherwise) has brought you here?How we create community here: Small Group Ministry Wellsprings Caring Ministry Hospitality Ministry Affinity groups Church wide events Church Structure- Board/ councilorsHow we serve the greater community:Intro to Social Justice Programs of the churchIntro to groups we support UUA Prairie Star District UUSC AMOS Second BasketHow to learn more:Weekly E-mailsWeb-sitePathways ClassClosing Words:Tour
Survey MonkeyOpening Statement 6.) Do you feel knowledgeable about the Religious Education programming available for children and adults? Yes1.) How did you hear about us? No Internet search 7.) Do your children feel welcome to participate in Religious Education? Friends/Family Yes Another UU congregation No (If no, can you tell us more?) Other: 8.) How many people from church do you feel you have made a connection with?2.) How many times have you visited? 0-3 Just once 4-6 Twice 7+ Three times 9.) What can we do to help you feel more connected? Four or more times3.) Are you still attending services/activities at church? Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. Your answers help make First Yes Unitarian a stronger community for you! If you have any questions about opportunities at First Unitarian Church, or becoming a member, please No If No, 1.) Are you willing to share why we are not a good fit for contact Lori Emison at email@example.com. Please feel free to leave any you? additional comments in the space below: 2.) Is there something we could have done to make your experience more positive?Thank you for your time. We wish you ….. (Survey ends)4.) Are you attending or planning to attend the First Steps or Pathways class? Yes No5.) Have you become involved in any church groups/programs? Yes If so, may we ask which ones? No
How to find greeters who get “it” Visitors are looking for friendliness and warmth above all else. Training Greeters to: Recognize visitors Know what to say, what to ask and what to do with visitors. Help them know what to do if someone doesn’t want to talk to anyone. How to welcome children Have a lead Greeter—even if you have staff
Sample Greeter Training ScheduleWelcome and Introduction Why we are here? Possible Discussion Topics: The value of visitors The value of greeters What was your most awkward experience as a greeter? (ask group for responses on how they would handle) The church’s responsibility for “welcoming” How has the greeter role changed for better or worse in the new space?Mechanics Recruiting Who do you think comes in the front door? Scheduling Responsibilities What was best experience as a greeter? What made it good?Tell us what you think What questions have you been asked that you did not know how to What is going well answer? What do we need to work to improve In what areas do you need help?Role Plays: Best example of Greeting Worst example of Greeting Easiest Visitor to Greet Hardest Visitor to Greet
Creating a Welcoming CultureStart with your leadership.Have regular newsletter articles.Have a special message for visitors at the beginning of the service.Ensure the minister and lay leaders have the visitors in mind when they are writing the sermon.During the offering, tell first time visitors to allow the basket to pass as they are our guests
Train RE Teachers/ ChildcareFamilies often come because the parents are lookingfor a place for their children. We want them toknow their children are as welcome as they are! Training teachers and care providers can include: What information to tell new parents. How to engage new children, especially shy children. Helping connect new children with other kids. Giving a quick report to the parents when they pick up the child at the end of service.
Visitor EngagementLook for ways that visitors can easily become involved and promote themthrough welcome phone calls, welcome packets, orders of service,newsletters, weekly e-mails and of course personal invites!!One time events/ short term activitiesSocial Justice ProjectsSmall Group MinistryAdult Education ClassesCongregational DinnersWednesday Night ProgrammingClarify to visitors that they do not have to be members to participate
Hospitality TeamsBuilding One team for each servicecommunity One team leaderInto 10-12 team membersThe Rotation / schedule 1x per yearHospitality Hosting the service as if in their ownProcess home Build in some fun!
Friendly FacesCoffee hour can be a make or break experiencefor your visitors…do you have individuals readyand able to truly invite them into community?
Use the Resources Available to You! Unitarian Universalist Association of Membership Professionals (UUAMP) Sign up for the Membership list serve and /or Mem Pro’s Iist serve Check out the Face book Growth Lab Visit other churches, UU and non-UU, to see what they do well that your congregation can emulate. Contact other UU congregations. Staff member and lay leaders are often very willing to share ideas and resources. Utilize the district staff.
With Much Thanks to…Marie MurtonMembership CoordinatorFox Valley Unitarian Universalist FellowshipThe Rev. Phillip B. LundDirector of Faith Developmentand Congregational GrowthPrairie Star District-UUA
Taking that feeling home….What is one word to describe the emotion youwould like the visitor to feel when they leaveyour congregation?