My wife and I have an area of our church where we like to sit with our two boys. We are not the people who have our “pew” but do have our section. Sound familiar?
For the past few months, our pastor’s homilies have centered on the theme of welcoming. One that stuck with me was called “pew hospitality” and the idea that parishioners should move to the center of their pews so others didn’t have to climb over them to get to their seats.
Since that Sunday, I have always moved the middle of the pew. It’s a simple idea, but can have a real impact on how visitors view your church.
Leave the first few rows of parking open for guests
Ask parishioners to arrive a little early and park further away.
If someone hasn’t attended church for a while, they are more likely to leave if they can’t find somewhere to park.
Remove the doorstops
Ask a few parishioners on your hospitality committee to welcome your guests and hold the door for them when they enter the church. This creates a more personal, inviting experience for everyone.
Ask families to be greeters
A parent and child can be a terrific greeting team, keeping it fun and lighthearted, while serving in a ministry together.
Include a note about welcoming children and babies into Mass
Let visitors and parishioners know that their babies and children are welcome at Mass. Last weekend, there were two babies in our pew and it brought smiles to people’s faces as they made sounds during Mass.
Ask people for feedback
Once you’ve taken some initial steps to become a more welcoming parish, ask some members of your family or friends who don’t attend your church to visit and give you their honest feedback. Take it to heart and make improvements when necessary.