If you've ever been the "new kid" at a school or church, you probably remember butterflies in your stomach as you walked into the class. Being in a new situation where you don't know anyone can feel scary and unsettling. Sometimes as Sunday school teachers and leaders, we can forget what "being the new kid" feels like and have to remind ourselves to see everything through the eyes of a visitor. Here's a few easy ways to welcome your Sunday School visitors.
Have everyone wear a name tag
This is a simple one! Make sure everyone is wearing a name tag to help identify everyone. This way the new child can easily learn the names of the others students and teachers. Perhaps in addition to their names, they could add a fun fact about themselves as a conversation starter (favorite pet, school they go to, etc.).
Introduce Sunday School visitors
Acknowledge that you have a visitor in your class but try to be brief about it so that it doesn't put the child "on the spot." Just introduce them with a "we're so glad to have _____ visiting with us today" and then move on with the lesson.
Offer snacks or treats in class
A warm welcome should include food! Try to have something simple on hand like crackers or candy. You can even tie snacks with an ice-breaker. Here's a simple idea: Grab a large bag of M & Ms. Pass the bag around and instruct everyone to take one candy. As each child grabs a candy, they answer a question. For example: If someone picks a blue M & M, they have to tell the group about their favorite hobby. If they pick a red candy, they must share their favorite sports team . . . and so forth until everyone has picked each color.
Give Sunday School visitors a goody bag
Ah, the power of the goody bag! What's not to love? Here's a few ideas for filling your goody bags:
- Coloring book and colored pencils
- Books of the Bible bookmark
- Small amount of candy
- Postcard with a warm welcome note
Meet the parents or caregivers
Introduce yourself and give them your or the church's contact information. Be sure to let them know about upcoming events.
By implementing just a few of these ideas, you are sure to help your Sunday School visitors feel very welcome. May God bless your Sunday School ministry!