By David Faust
They are the friendly individuals who shake your hand and welcome you when you arrive for worship. As they hand you a bulletin (and maybe a copy of the lookout), you sense that they love their job (and they love you). Some greeters are old; they’ve been doing this for years. Others are young—children who arrive at church early with their parents to share in the greeting ministry. Some greeters are extroverts who laugh easily and hug spontaneously. Others are introverts who greet you with a pleasant nod, communicating kindness without words.
Greeters are on the front lines of ministry as they answer a nervous newcomer’s question, introduce a first-time guest to the minister, or comfort a regular attendee who is feeling discouraged. They make sure the doors are unlocked and the lights are on. They hold the door open when you run in from the rain. This is serious business. For some, the handshakes and hugs received in the church lobby are the only physical contact they will receive all week from another human being.
A Sacred Responsibility
I think of the church’s greeters when I read Psalm 84:10, which says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
In Old Testament times, gatekeepers and doorkeepers “would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning” (1 Chronicles 9:27). They were in charge of the sacred vessels and the freewill offerings used to support the temple. King David appointed 4,000 officials to serve in this important role (23:5).
Whether or not we’re involved in the church’s official greeting ministry, all Christians have a sacred responsibility to help usher others into God’s presence. A friendly welcome isn’t merely the job of the church staff or the folks who stand by the door. All of us can show hospitality, make a seeker feel at home, and show a struggling soul that she is loved and accepted.
A Lovely Place
When people come to church, they don’t just need a friendly greeting; they need true friends. Even more, they need to connect with God. The psalmist exclaimed, “How lovely is your dwelling place, lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1, 2).
I baptized a man and his family after they attended our church services for several weeks. He said, “The first Sunday I came here, I left my wife and kids at home because I wanted to check things out on my own. I walked in alone and sat down next to an older man who greeted me warmly and asked if this was my first time to attend. I said, ‘Yes, I’m looking for a church where they teach the Bible and where my family can learn about God together.’ The old man shook my hand and said, ‘Son, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome home.’”
Thank the Lord for faithful doorkeepers.
1. Who usually greets you when you arrive for worship? Is there a special way your church could recognize your greeters and thank them for their ministry?
2. How could you become a more effective “doorkeeper” and help others feel at home in the household of God?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
1 Corinthians 9:13–27
Judges 4, 5
1 Corinthians 10:1–13
Judges 6, 7
1 Corinthians 10:14–33
1 Corinthians 11:1–16
1 Corinthians 11:17–34
1 Corinthians 12:1–13