I am such a sucker for claiming my free welcome packets from churches. Yet, I honestly couldn’t tell you why I get so excited about them. I don’t really like getting gimmicky coupons for the church’s own coffee shop, and I am skeptical of eating any homemade baked goods. One time I got a large Hershey’s chocolate bar, but oddly enough I don’t really like chocolate that much.
Don’t get me wrong. Welcome packets can be a vital ministry tool when the contents are chosen with care. They provide helpful information about a church and its values and lets visitors know you are glad they came. Yet, I wonder if we should get away from the standard welcome packet contents and be a little more creative and memorable.
One way to do this is by creating children’s welcome packets and/or giving gift items to kids. Here are a few suggestions for what to include in a children’s welcome packet:
- Bulletin or Activity Sheet with Crayons—Some children will stay with their parents for all or part of the service. As the parents looks through a bulletin or take notes, kids will feel included in the activities if they have their own pamphlet that corresponds with the service. It might have a picture to color based on the current sermon series, or a key Bible verse.
- Children’s Tract—Include a tract that explains the gospel clearly (examples include: CrossTalk or even the Good News Wristband which comes with an accompanying card explaining the gospel through the significance of the various colors).
- A few Small Items—Stickers, pencils, small balls, et cetera, are great ways to bring a smile to any child’s face. (Oriental Trading often has great deals on bulk novelty toys).
- Welcome Letter from the Children’s Director—This is great for the whole family. It lets the parents know whom to contact if they have questions about the children’s programs, and it helps children feel welcomed.
- Welcome Letter(s) from other Children in the Church—A few churches have started involving its kids by having them create generic welcome cards or letters for visiting children. They letters might say “I am glad you came” or “My favorite part about Sunday School is….”
- A Card with Recommended Children’s Bible Resources or Websites for Children to Visit—This can be a great way to get the whole family involved in Bible activities throughout the week. There are numerous web sites available with free Bible coloring sheets and activities to download as well as a whole host of other fun activities. (example: See Ministry to Children’s Website)
- “Family Pass” Redeemable for a Date with the Pastor or Children’s Director—This is a great way to follow up with visitors, answer any questions they may have, and get to know them better. The pass could be for a trip to an ice cream store, Chuck E Cheese for pizza, or perhaps a local kid’s attraction.
Consider asking kids in your church for more ideas on what they would most like to get if they were visiting a church. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Probably nothing worse would happen than someone writing a blog about your unusually, memorable welcome gifts.
(Also, check out "Making Visitors Feel Welcome (Part 1)" and "Making Visitors Feel Welcome (Part 3)" or read more from Sarah Bowler over at sarahbowler.com).