I’m periodically on the schedule to greet at my church. This involves 4 basic things: wearing a really cool magnetic tag that says “Greeter”, saying hello to folks as they enter the front door, handing them a bulletin, and giving first time visitors a loaf of bread. There are also other less consistent items such as holding a door open, directing someone to the bathroom and playing with my friends’ adorable 21-month-old who always gives me a fantastic smile.
Now I’ve only done this greeting gig twice. Yesterday was #2…so I’m no pro. And trust me, our church has pro greeters who know exactly what to say and how. But I’m a newbie. I actually got drafted after saying that greeting might help me get to know more people. It’s always awkward when you say hello to the person sitting behind you and ask, “Are you visiting with us?” and hear, “No…” in reply. Yup #awkward. So surely saying hello to everyone who comes through the church doors would reduce those hide-me-under-a-bushel moments.
But then I don’t want to become so cautious that I never ask. Today I was afraid we wouldn’t get all the bread given away so I got excited when a friend’s parents came in. THEY were clearly visitors. Two more loaves to go!
Anyway, I think what I value most about being a greeter are the conversations that emerge. I don’t consider myself the greatest conversationalist. Never have. But I’m learning to be present and engage honestly. So dead space isn’t tough to navigate and active listening yields real exchanges.
In truth, I may never know every single face unless I start sitting somewhere new each Sabbath or consciously make my way around the sanctuary during “Meet & Greet”. But I like where things are headed so far. “Good morning! Would you like a bulletin?”