Welcoming Newcomers is so important for hospitality and growth at your parish. First impressions make a big impression everywhere, and your parish is no different.
When we survey parishes we ask about how they did with the newcomer’s experience, and most parishioners say “this needs some work.” So what are some ideas for welcoming new people?
- Welcome Bags: Parishes put a variety of things in these bags including: branded car magnets, pamphlets about the faith (there is a pamphlet for almost every topic in the Church), magazines about the city, ministry directories so newcomers can easily get involved, the latest State of the Parish Report, the current Parish Vision Plan, branded mugs or pens (who doesn’t need a new pen?!), a Bible or a Catechism, and so much more!
- St. John of the Cross even got creative with their bags by inviting the children of the parish to decorate them! What a fun way to welcome new parishioners!
- Newcomers Brunches: I’ve seen many parishes host a brunch or even just bagels & coffee after Mass once a month or every other month where all new parishioners are invited to come and meet the pastor, ministry leaders, the director of Faith Formation, and others. It’s a great way for them to get to know other parishioners (new and long-standing).
- Mentor Families: When joining a new community, it can be challenging to find a place where you belong. Some parishes partner new parishioners with a family similar to them: Seniors with Seniors, Empty Nesters with Empty Nesters, Families with Young Children with others with similar ages, Young Adults with Young Adults, Families with Teens with other Teens, etc. It’s a great way for new parishioners to meet people with similar interests and lifestyles!
- A Simple Phone Call: One of the most simple ways I was welcomed into a new parish was by a phone call. I filled out the registration form and then within a week someone called me (an actual call on my actual phone) to welcome me to the parish, ask if I had any questions, and make sure I knew my way around campus. They also shared my envelop number with me and other important information.
- A Signed Note from the Pastor: At another parish I loved receiving a card from the pastor. Sometimes his notes were a generic welcome printed with his actual signature, and other times (if he knew the person), they were a personal note that was mailed out to new parishioners. People love getting personalized mail (helps make all that junk mail worth the trip to the mailbox), so what a fun way to welcome new people.
What great ideas does your parish have to welcome newcomers?