“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God…”
Don’t let the white gloves fool you. This is a not a neat and uniform ministry but requires persons who are willing to serve wherever the need arises. Because it is more than passing out bulletins and keeping track of the sanctuary seating chart. Instead, ushers are committed to being a warm and welcoming presence, hosts who aim to ensure the comfort of those who gather for worship. Ushers can set the expectation for attendees and the tone for the worship experience. Alvin D. Johnson writes in his book The Work of the Usher, “The advice to put one’s best foot forward out to be as applicable to churches as to individuals, particularly inasmuch as the church has to offer to so many people. Ushers are in that strategic position…”
These ministers of hospitality open the doors of the church. Often the first faces that members and visitors see, they are your church’s first impression and introduction. So, ushers, be sure to put on a smile and your best face as you can determine whether that first- time visitor returns for a second service. Met with an unfriendly face or an usher who is not a “people person,” your church’s doors can become revolving ones. In fact, John Malm listed the greeter as one of the reasons why first- time visitors don’t return in his book Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First- Time Visitors.
Ushers are gatekeepers and doorkeepers, sentries and sentinels. They represent the open arms of God and the open- door policy of the house of God. Ushers remind us that we are welcome in houses of worship and that there is a place for us. Committing trained persons to this ministry says to visitors and members that our ministry to you begins at the door.
Hospitality is not just a ministry or even a degree program but it is the spirit of our service. With or without gloves, all believers are called to usher in the spirit of Christ. Ushers are a necessary reminder that we should ensure that everyone has a seat in God’s house and at the Lord’s Table. This is why the Office of Empowering Congregations is committed to equipping these servant leaders.