Door Stewards

... and  all  those  who shake  their  hand.

At a recent Worship Committee at Lansdowne Crescent, we discussed the importance of the message people receive when they walk into our churches.  This applies in all three Malvern Methodist Churches. At Lansdowne Crescent, we have ‘Welcome’ all over the door, but welcome to what? This applies to everyone who comes to church, but it is particularly important when we welcome visitors and new people.  The handshake offered with the hymn book and a smile is more than an act of friendliness.  We are welcoming in the name of Jesus and to an encounter with God our Heavenly Father.  In the handshake, the words of welcome, the smile, and in giving the books and notice sheets we represent our church but more importantly we represent our Lord.

Initially, we thought we might provide some Door Steward training, but on second thought realised sometimes our welcome is not all it might be because of the way we all behave.  When you come into the church and are given your books and notices how much of the Door Stewards’ time are you taking?  Are others not being properly welcomed, especially new people and visitors, because you are taking up the Steward’s time with a conversation you might have over coffee after the service?  This does happen, which is why this piece is addressed to everyone.

Door Stewards are there to make sure people are welcome, they have what they need for the service, and if need be, they know where to sit, which is anywhere!  If they are new or are a visitor ask for their name and if they really are new!  We don’t know everyone and sometimes someone might look new when they’ve been coming for a while. Don’t assume - ask.  I recently told a lady who worships every Christmas Eve at Upper Welland and at no other time she is regular!

Remember to invite visitors and new people to coffee after the service, and let them know where the toilet is.  If the service is Holy Communion they need to know they are welcome to receive, including their children.  Having asked their names let the preacher know, and if new people are more than visitors ask for their contact details.  Welcome needs to be followed up.

Make sure disabled people are helped to find a place, and make sure the hard of hearing know there is a hearing loop available. Those with mental health issues or learning disabilities deserve an equal welcome to everyone else, and may need more.  Remember people may need space, so don’t overwhelm them with your welcome and let them sit where they feel comfortable.

Remember latecomers.  They need to be welcomed, shown a place to sit, and given what they need.

Wear a badge with your name and role.  If you don’t have one then ask the Church Stewards to get you one.

Door Stewards are on the frontline of the Church’s mission and it is important we do this task to the best of our ability. If you don’t yet take your turn on the rota might you offer?

To many who already offer an excellent welcome at the Church door this might seem like stating the obvious, but we don’t always practice what we preach.  No matter how excellent our welcome is we all can always do better, including me.