Guest Assimilation

1 Corinthians 14:40
“Let all things be done decently and in order.”

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”—Albert Einstein

I have the privilege of teaching an Adult Bible Class every Sunday, and I am always looking for ideas and helps to assist me in making me a better class leader. One area I’ve come to concentrate on in my class is guest assimilation. In this post, I want to discuss four components I have found extremely helpful to implement before class even begins.


Everyone attending our class should be welcomed with a smile. The most critical part of properly greeting your class as they arrive is your class greeter. A friendly face offering a warm welcome speaks volumes! Our greeters should practically radiate the underlying message you want to send to your guests: “We are nice people, and we are glad you are here!” Be sure to communicate to your greeters about the importance of their job and what is expected of them. Volunteers want direction; give it to them!

A sign in a McDonald’s recently read, “We expect all of our employees to smile at you. If you are not smiled at while your order is being taken, you get a free order of French fries or a free small drink.” McDonald’s places value on what we should too—understanding the undeniable power of a smile.

According to Professor Emeritus Paul Ekman, “We can pick up a smile from 100 feet away. A smile lets us know that we are going to get a positive reception and it’s hard not to reciprocate.” Class greeters and leaders ought to embrace this approach and show genuine friendliness while making eye contact and offering sincere smiles to all those who visit.

We also should welcome everyone in our class with excellence. Everything speaks to first-time guests—everything! And, we only have one chance to make a great first impression. Just like at home when we diligently prepare for company to come over in order, we should also be ready for company every week in our classes!


The second step in successful pre-class contact is to make sure your guests are quickly, simply, and politely shown where to go. Once you’ve greeted and welcomed them, introduce them to the person in your class responsible for getting their contact information. (You should designate someone in your class to serve in this capacity.)

In my class, we have a first-time guest registrar and she is responsible for making sure every first-time guest fills out a response card and turns it back in to her. She gives me these names to me before we begin, and I recognize them in class and thank them for attending.As the old saying goes, “God is in the details.” It is imperative you get as much contact information from your first-time guests as possible. This will help you to properly and accurately follow up (which we will discuss in a future post).

We all want first-time guests in our classes, but remember that God is not going to give us more than we can handle or more than we choose to handle. To be good stewards of God’s guests in our class, we must take ownership and leadership by greeting them and finding out more about them.


What do first-time guests want to feel? Respected and welcomed. Guests want to know that you are happy they came, and they acquire a sense of belonging when they know you are doing everything you can to make sure they have a good experience.

Take time to train your class to excel in the area of not only making guests feel welcome but also making them feel that they belong. Remember, unfamiliar faces are as intimidating to the church family as they are to first-time guests. Your class may need some teaching on how to greet, help, and visit with newcomers. Although it may take time, do your best to fight the “us 4 no more mentality.”

Another way to provide a great experience is to provide delicious refreshments. Have you ever noticed how a two-hundred-pound man in a crowd of strangers suddenly feels more comfortable if he has an eight-ounce Styrofoam cup to hide behind?

Providing food and coffee is one of the best ways to show your guests you care about them, and it’s a sure way to put them at ease. Don’t skimp on the food. Remember, you are looking for quality, not extravagance. And, with providing tasteful refreshments, be sure to thank the volunteers in your class who help in this area. They truly play an important role in your class.

Now that your guests have been sincerely greeted, helpfully directed, and well-treated, all that’s left is for them is to be properly seated.


While it would be easy to let your guests fend for themselves and find a seat, it shows very little hospitality on our part. It’s best to enlist and train some ushers to help you with finding every guest a comfortable seat—preferably closer to the front.

Embrace and practice these four components, and you’ll be sure to have a welcome and inviting spirit in your class. What better way to start your lesson than with class members and guests who feel like they belong and matter in  your class!