How to Welcome Members Without a Handshake

5 min readJun 23, 2021

Before the arrival of COVID-19, it was customary to welcome church members with a hug and a handshake.

However, the new normal requires every church to enforce social distancing. This means there are no more hugs or handshakes.

Now, we are faced with a new challenge. How do we welcome members to church without a handshake? The idea is to come up with ways to make them feel at home without touching them. We will provide you with some helpful tips in this post. Let’s get started.

Welcoming members to church without a handshake

One thing that is very important to church growth is how you welcome your members, old and new. The way you treat people will determine if they will stay or not. Now that you can no longer shake people’s hands, what can you do to make them feel welcome? Here are some suggestions:

Make use of printed signs

One of the essential tenets of congregation management is that hospitality begins from outside the doors. You don’t wait for members to step inside before you make them welcome. Printing banner signs, placards, or large feather flags to welcome them to church works.

Banners and feather flags can even double as a means of publicizing your church. With them flying high, individuals driving past the church are attracted to drive in. You can add street signs to your list as well. Ensure that you have these signs affixed at strategic points within your church premises, from the gate to the car park to the walkways and even inside the church auditorium.

There is a way even to make it more personalized. You can have a team of greeters hold placards with welcome signs. Ensure that the greeters are adhering to all social distancing protocols. The idea is to have them at strategic locations where people have to pass through to enter the auditorium. Even though they cannot shake hands or give hugs, they will still create that feeling of love and acceptance.

In addition to their placards, these volunteers need picture tags on them. This is necessary since they have to wear a face mask to cover their smiles. At least, the picture tags will show them smiling and add some spice to your welcome message.

Ensure the safety of your members

We are in trying times, and many people are still skeptical about attending church. Most of them prefer an embedded Livestream instead. This means that if they have to attend your services, you must assure them of utmost safety. For most of them, that is enough show of welcome.

How safe do guests feel when they enter your church environment or the church auditorium? It is important to install hand sanitizer stations in different strategic locations. You can have them on tables or stands depending on what you can afford. There are so many options available.

When installing these stands, ensure that you have signs beside them. If you are using a table, you should have a sign on the table beside the hand sanitizer. You can also provide facemasks for those that come to church without one. Place signs telling individuals that they wouldn’t be allowed into the church without adhering to social distancing conditions. While this may seem quite strict, it will be welcoming to individuals that desire some safety for themselves.

Make use of montages

Another exciting way to welcome members to church without a handshake is through montages. A montage is a mix of several images, either still or moving, to create a continuous sequence. The good thing about montages is that they help to communicate a lot of information quickly.

This idea is great for welcoming first-timers. Typically, you would tell members around these individuals to shake their hands to make them feel welcome. Since you can’t do that, how do you pass the message that you are glad to have them in church?

An excellent medium to use is a montage. Put together some exciting pictures of your church, including words written to welcome them specially. Add some very good music like your church welcome song (if you have one) and a special message from the pastor. You can play the montage when you ask new members to arise so you can welcome them. You can bet that they will appreciate the effort and be glad to revisit your church.

Offer welcome gifts

Again, this idea is targeted at first-timers to your church. It is normal to have a welcome session with these individuals after the service to tell them about the church. You should remember that individuals love gifts, at least most of them. Welcome gifts, no matter how small, welcome gifts will show them that you are glad they made it to church.

Note that the gifts that you present are not to bribe them or buy them into your congregation. It is just a way of saying that they matter to you. The gifts don’t have to be expensive. A small Bible, a book, or even one of the pastor’s messages will do. It is the motive that counts.

One important thing that you should do when handing out these gifts is adding a note or card. The note or card should be signed by the pastor. This will act as a means of follow-up. You should also have a way to collect information. Such information should be added to your church management software like ChurchPad for further follow-up.


Welcoming members without a handshake is an important step that your church must adopt in these trying times. We have enumerated a few ideas on how to do this effectively in this post. Whatever you do, don’t forget to collect their information and reach out to them using features on ChurchPad. Do you have any other ideas?

Share them with us in the comments section below.




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