The Five Minute Rule to W*I*N in Welcoming Guests

"And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?" (Matthew 5:47)

Every day, he passes your church on the way to work. He finally gets up his nerve to attend worship, but he’s not exactly certain what to wear or where to enter. He wonders if he’ll see familiar faces in the crowd. As the worship service begins, he falters clumsily, unsure about when to stand, unfamiliar with the format and the songs. This scenario probably occurs at your church weekly.

As the family of God—the church—our love for one another is vital and Scriptural. We are also commanded to love the lost—to love in words and actions. Your greeting to new people is a key part to help Good News come to people!

Looking for a way to equip church folks to genuinely welcome guests? Consider the “Five Minute Rule to W*I*N.” The rule helps alleviate apprehensive feelings of church guests.

Here’s the “Five Minute Rule”:

For five minutes immediately preceding the worship service and five minutes immediately after the service, leaders intentionally seek out guests or irregular attenders to welcome them warmly and chat for a few minutes, listening for needs, showing an interest, and answering questions.

Here’s a “Game Plan” for those conversations, using the acronym “W*I*N”

W = Welcome…Weather (“Beautiful day today…”)…What’s your name?...Who did you come with?...

I = Interests, such as work, hobbies, kids, etc.

N = Needs. “How can we pray for you?”… “Is there any way we can serve you and your family?”

Simple. Effective. The power of a sincere, personal welcome is strong. Before music or preaching begins, guests are evaluating and deciding whether they will come back to your church. Most people decide whether they are coming back to a church in the first minute or two after they enter the building! The people connection counts. A casual, friendly conversation can transform those awkward minutes into a venue for hospitality. The five minute rule can be applied to your worship service, Bible study group, fellowship event or women’s ministry.

As a leader in your church, would you sacrifice five minutes to welcome newcomers? It could make an eternal difference!

Coach Yourself Forward

1. When was the last time you were a visitor at new-to-you event? What was your experience like? What would have made you feel more at home?

2. What kind of equipping have you done to help your church folks make your guests feel welcomed and valued?

3. Most people feel better when they have a simple path to follow when it comes to greeting others at church…especially introverts. How will you adapt “The Five Minute Rule and W*I*N” for your ministry?

Written by Diana Davis and Dr. Tim Roehl