I make no bones about it – I’m a Trekkie. Have been almost all my life. One of my favorite characters was the android, Data, from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series (he’s a fan fave). He was pretty formal – he didn’t use contractions (he was programmed to say “is not” rather than “isn’t”), and when he met someone new, he almost always said, “Greetings!” I’ve actually found myself repeating that simple phrase from time to time. Life imitating art, I suppose. At least Data had the sense to acknowledge the presence of a new person, even if he went about it in a formal way.
If you’re a Bible study group leader, you’ll want to consider making it someone’s job to be your group’s designated greeter. Here are 3 quick reasons why you need this valuable position filled immediately:
- Designating a greeter means that someone in your group has a job – and ownership. I once knew a group leader who had about 25 positions that people could fill in his group – from apprentice teacher to “security” (he called people whose responsibility it was to make sure everyone in the group wore a nametag his “security team”). If someone has a job to do, they are more likely to be regular in attendance. And it helps them take ownership in the group.
- Your guests need to be treated with great care. When you walk into a department store, hardware store, or a boutique at the mall and have to stand around waiting for someone to greet you, don’t you get a little exasperated? I know that I do. I expect someone to acknowledge my presence and ask if they can be of any assistance. Store managers who do their jobs well always train their people to put the customer first and to make sure they are greeted quickly. This expectation in a retail environment is often transferred into the world of church. When guests visit your Bible study group, they don’t want to stand or sit around while your group members continue to carry on conversations with one another. Your guests want to be acknowledged and cared for, just like you would. My wife and I have actually visited groups in which no one said a word of greeting to us. We literally sat there, awkwardly listening in on other people’s conversations, making small talk among ourselves, and hoping that someone would take the initiative to speak to us.
- The group leader needs to be freed up to do his or her job. Group leaders have an important job to do – guide the group’s Bible study. That often requires setting up the room where the group meets, setting out props or other items that will be used during the study, checking the room temperature, and a host of other things. If a guest arrives during the setup time (and they often will) then a designated greeter can “run interference” for the group leader. The greeter can introduce himself/herself, introduce the guest to others in the group, and help the guest feel like they are welcome – all the while giving the group leader time to finish his or her setup.
What should you look for in a group greeter? Someone who:
- Regularly attends the group.
- Has a friendly demeanor.
- Is outgoing.
- Has the spiritual gift of hospitality.
- Is sensitive to the needs of guests to connect to others in your group.
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