Today I am writing about Ushering in the church.
“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10
This verse doesn’t make a doorkeeper (usher) sound very important. But it has been said that for some visitors to church the usher is the first person they meet and the last person they meet. What that means is that some people purposely come late, are met at the door and escorted to a seat. Then at the end of the service, perhaps during prayer, they are the first to leave. Again they see the usher.
Being an usher is actually a very important position. If you serve as an usher you are likely the first person a visitor sees. And that visitor forms an opinion about the church you represent. As an usher you may hand out greeting cards or take up the offering.
In other words you represent the church!
You don’t want people to have a bad impression of your church. So your appearance, speech, and actions need to be your very best. It may not be fair but that’s the way it is. Not only that, but how you treat them. Do you smile? Do you welcome them to the church? Do you offer to shake their hands?
These trivial words and actions aren’t so trivial when you consider you are being evaluated by the visitor. And if you mess up in any single item it has the potential of being blown out of proportion and causing the visitor to never return. Worse yet, it might prevent the visitor from listening to the preacher!
Unfortunately most Christians don’t appreciate ushering. If they were to rate jobs within the church on a 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), being an usher would rank near or at the bottom. Singing in the choir or performing in the music department is usually rated much higher. Yet neither of them have the potential impact upon a visitor like an usher. Now before you get irate I do acknowledge that those ministries are important as they can set the mood for the service to follow. But an usher meets people personally and they either make a positive or negative impact.
How should an Usher dress?
Really depends upon the pastor and deacons, but I would recommend suit, shirt, tie, polished shoes, and a smile. Down here in the south many churchgoers prefer the casual look. That is their prerogative, but it disqualifies them from ushering. Why?
It’s not all that complicated. Because they personally meet visitors and represent the church it is necessary to put forth their very best. It’s an old argument, “if God the Father gave His very best, Jesus Christ, then we should wear our very best,” but it is also true.
Should an Usher talk to visitors?
Obviously the answer is a yes. But I would add “not for very long.” A good usher tries to make the visitor feel welcome without taking up much time. For one thing the visitor could get insulted if you overdid the friendly bit. It’s a fine line, but you should keep your conversation brief.
What about joking with people, both members and visitors?
Be careful what you say. You could be talking to a friend that likes to joke around, but it is possible that a visitor might be offended by such joking.
When should the Ushering begin?
One of the hardest things to get ushers to realize is that ushering begins 10 – 15 minutes before the service starts. By then an usher should be at his station greeting people as they arrive. On Sunday morning I come over from Sunday School, where I’m a teacher’s assistant, and immediately begin my ushering duties. Because I’m the head usher those duties include making sure that all scheduled ushers are reminded of their duty or a substitute is selected.
Part of my ushering involves going about greeting people already there. And not just greeting visitors, but members as well. It is all part of making people feel welcome and a part of the service.
Are you looking for a place to serve in your church? Check out becoming an usher.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.