When it comes to church hospitality, the importance of creating a welcoming environment may seem like a no-brainer; while other ideas on the subject might not be so obvious. Hopefully a few tips shared here can help you find the balance between receiving your guests with warm enthusiasm, and overwhelming them right out the door. There are many reasons to keep your church reception practices fresh and inviting, perhaps the greatest point coming from visitors themselves. Per a Barna Research survey among people seeking a church home, visitor friendliness was rated “extremely important” by 71% of study participants. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your church is offering guests a comfortable, encouraging environment in which they feel well-received.
Firstly, one of the best assets you have for making visitors feel comfortable is a friendly and knowledgeable staff who greet guests, and make the time to get to know them. Just as importantly, stay atop of training your greeters so they always have the freshest information on good hospitality practices and church information. Greeters should be aware that often times they are responsible for the churchʼs first impression, and should always engage people with an open—not overbearing—attitude and friendly smiles. Itʼs a great idea to position greeters in apparent areas such as the reception center and outside entrances, as well as places not so obvious in order to assist guests with directions and other important information they may need.
Secondly, make sure youʼre providing outlets to dispense inviting information for those who are new to your church. Having pleasant welcome center furniture, such as warm and accessible church reception desks or information centers, is a great way to offer visitors the information theyʼd like to receive without overpowering them with intimidating “in-your-face” methods. Stock your church welcome furniture well with the right information—such as Sunday bulletins, upcoming events and interest-specific programs like gender studies, youth groups, daycare and Sunday school details.
Lastly, pay attention to the environment youʼre constructing for both visitors and regular members. Itʼs helpful to create designated hospitality areas equipped with comfortable church center furniture so that a social space exists for fellowship, conversation and a way to gently encourage visitor assimilation. Also, offer church guests and members treats to let them know they are invited to stay. Encourage friendly gatherings and exchanges by providing a hot or cold beverage and tasty snack before or after services to make everyone feel at home. This is easily accomplished by having beverage carts and/or refreshment centers that are attractive and inviting, thereby increasing opportunities to develop social communion and friendships within your church congregation. If you feel you need to update your welcoming facilities, there is plenty of help out there to help you achieve just that goal. Envisionary Images located in Fort Worth, Texas is one such place; devoted exclusively to making furniture for enhancing your church environment with welcome desks, information centers, refreshment stations and anything else that will optimize a guest experience.
Todd Carver, Envisionary Images LLC owner and design concept specialist, had the idea to build some of the most creative church welcome center designs available today, and then customize them to translate each piece into a churchʼs specific needs. During our interview with Todd, we found out some of the key philosophies behind his inspiration.
Q: What is most important to you about what you want to achieve through Envisionary Images?
A: My goal with creating Envisionary Images from the very beginning has always been to help the local church achieve the greatest quality in design and products at a reasonable price, making the best use of the churchʼs resources to serve its goal of reaching out to the community.
Q: What in your opinion are the most crucial items for optimizing a church welcome center?
A: A church welcome center isn’t just a reception desk, a church welcome desk should be both inviting and useful. We design every desk with specific goals in mind. Every church has a unique approach and we like to capture their specific approach in our designs. Most of our designs are “open” designs, giving greeters the personal access they need to meet their guests face-to-face instead of being trapped behind a wall. An in-person, friendly greeting is by far the better approach to making a guest feel like you are there to help.
Q: What motivates your church center design inspirations?
A: My motivation comes from my passion for design and the discovery of a need for welcome centers that is not being met. When Envisionary Images saw the lack of resources available in the marketplace for church welcome center furniture, we immediately transitioned our business model from a “church graphic design provider” to a “church welcome center furniture designer and fabricator.” Our business quadrupled over the following year and we are projecting a record breaking 2014. The need is there, and we aim to fill it in a meaningful way.
Envisionary Images services a broad range of churches locations, and include shipping with their costs to anywhere in the contiguous United States while still remaining competitively priced with all local markets. Envisionary Images is the premier source for quality furniture that, in most cases, ships fully assembled and ready for use. They also offer an entire line of high quality prefabricated welcome furniture to meet small-budget needs with top level products. For more information, please visit www.envisionaryimages.com