The Art Of Effective Church Ushering – Revised Edition

Praise the Lord Jesus!

It is a blessed opportunity granted to me by our God and Heavenly Father to come to you through this book.

For more than a decade I have been serving as a Church Usher; First at the Moi University Christian Union then at different worship assemblies.

By divine providence in my career I have worked as an emergency first responder and in most cases heading the protocol teams during different occasions.

Whether in church or at work, my slogan has always been ‘First In, Last Out’

Having attended and served in church for quite some time I have been heavily concerned about people who comfortably Belong to church but they don’t Participate in any acts of service in that church. Statistics show that believers who don’t do anything in church have a greater risk of not just dropping out of church but falling out of the faith.

Dear friends our commitment to Christ must be demonstrated through our service to him and to his church.

According to 1 peter 4:10… “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

This is to say that every Christian has been given at least one gift to use in their service to the body of Christ.

Some people think serving God is in preaching alone! That’s not true!

There are many ways we can advance the gospel and enhance the welfare of the body of Christ.

You may not necessarily be a pastor of a local church or an evangelist to the nations but you can serve in the choir, you can work as a Website administrator or social media coordinator, you can serve as a sound technician, you can serve in the media department, you can give your finances and resources, you can work in the kitchen, you may be led to teach a Sunday school class and more so you can choose to serve in the USHERING DEPARTMENT!

In this book am persuaded to give a singular attention to CHURCH USHERING which is one way we can serve God.

Having served in this department for many years I have collected some experiences and information that I strongly believe can help those who are already in the ushering departments in our churches and those who will join later.

God does no just want us to serve him; He wants us to do it well.

We therefore must always ask ourselves, what can I do, what can I add, what can I change in order to please the Lord in the area of assignment he has gifted me to serve, this applies to preachers and to ushers and to all other church workers as well.

I believe this book will help enhance the effectiveness of our ministry as ushers thus growing the impact of our local churches in our accomplishing our Kingdom mandate.

WHO IS AN USHER

The dictionary generally describes an usher as an officer or servant who has the care of the door of a court, hall, or chamber or an officer who walks before a person of rank or one who escorts persons to their seats.

To usher is to show someone where they should go, or to make someone go where you want them to go.

An usher is a DOOR KEEPER, he or she is a guide, and an escort.

However, when we come to church; the definition of an usher goes beyond being a doorkeeper.

Due to the diverse and unique needs in our churches the ushers are looked upon to provide services that go beyond what the dictionary describes.

Each usher has the opportunity to impact the lives of new and existing people in the church and should be viewed as an extension of the pastor’s hand. In most cases, they provide the first impressions of church and ministry of the pastor.

The ministry of ushering is a crucial part of worship because it is one of the most visible ministries in the Church.

In Christ, you have received God’s unconditional love, and, in Christ, you are called to extend that same unconditional love to others.

Although an usher’s love is no stronger than the love found in the whole congregation of the body of Christ, nevertheless the usher performs a major role in ensuring that people see and experience that love.

An usher is a spiritual ambassador for the local church – God’s ordained and organized body of believers. The usher serves as a “first representative” of Jesus Christ for a worship service.

Ushers are a tremendous force in setting the tone for worship and helping to prepare the people to hear and respond to the Word of God.

The purpose of ushering in church is not merely to serve people, as in a theater or restaurant. Its purpose is to serve God!!

When the ushers see to it that an atmosphere of reverence and order is maintained before, during, and after the service, they do it for God. When they usher the worshippers to their seats, they do it for God.

When they gather the offerings, they serve God. What they do, they do not “as unto men, but unto God.” They are a part of the total congregation which presents itself before God to worship Him.

While ushering is important, and its importance must be emphasized, the ushers themselves must not have or convey a feeling of personal importance and pride.

The ushers must memorize and apply the Third Beatitude, “Blessed are the meek.” In addition, they should learn from our Lord Jesus to be “meek and lowly in heart.”

An usher is a servant of God.

The work of an usher is important in its relationship to God and the worship of God, but personally the usher must not feel proud and over-important.

The Bible tells us that….

“Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as unto the Lord (as working for the Lord), and not unto men; since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a Reward: It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians3: 23- 24.

The role of a church usher is to help the first time guests, repeat visitors, and members experience the sacredness and joy of a worship service.

I believe that an usher’s performance can make or break the outcome of the service as well as bring a true reflection of how friendly and loving the church really is.

Ushers set the spiritual climate of the service by presenting a joyful attitude, making others feel welcome and comfortable, and making sure that everything is flowing in a proper order so that everyone is free to worship without interruption.

David in the Bible desired just to be a Doorkeeper (AN USHER) in the house of God than to spend time elsewhere. “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” PSALM 84: 10.

It is a good and desirable thing to be an usher in the house of God!

An usher in the church is not just a VOLUNTEER but a SERVANT OF GOD!

The ministry of Jesus would not be orderly without the service of the disciples who on many occasions served as USHERS! Ushers are instruments of orderliness in the place of worship. Remember on the occasion in Mathew 14:13-21, when Jesus fed over 5000 people.

Jesus provided the miracle Bread and Fish but it was the duty of the disciples to organize the people in to groups and to distribute the food and then to collect the remains.

Ushers are organizers!!!

In Acts 6: 1-4, “A complaint arose from the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews because the Grecian widows were being neglected in the daily ministry. The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It’s not appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables. Therefore brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom. Then we can appoint those men over this business, and we apostles will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Ushers ought to be responsible people, people of good reputation and wisdom and full of the Holy Spirit and faith. People who oil the operations of ministry and lessen the burden from the point men and women of the local assemblies!!!

It should excite every usher to know that the first MARTYR; the first man to die for his belief in the Gospel, STEPHEN was an USHER…. !!!

Ushers are men and women, brothers and sisters so much in love with Christ, that they can do anything, even getting dirty just to put a smile on the face of Christ by bringing and maintaining order in the church.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD USHER

Dear friends from the onset, I wish to suggest to you some irreducible minimums of attributes that every good usher must possess. There certain aspects that any person serving or aspiring to serve as an usher must consider! If you are going to find a good usher then you will notice the following:…

1. A GOOD USHER MUST BE A GOOD COMMUNICATOR

Ushering entails talking to people.

A good usher needs to be a keen listener.

He or she must be kind yet clear in their words.

An usher must be willing to consult then inform the concerned people instead of misleading people with personal assumptions… For example, if a new member asks.. what time is the mid week service…. If the usher is not very sure, he or she should not say… I THINK ITS 5PM WEDNESDAY…They should instead consult then tell the new brother….I HAVE JUST CONFIRMED ITS 5.30PM WEDNESDAY!

Every usher must learn how to address people appropriately….

For instance, don’t address a 60 or 70 year old woman with her first name, or even as “sister Jane”. Address her … Dear mum welcome….

It is not kind to address a mid-age woman …you woman, we mama, huyu msichana.

One wrong word used to address a person can put them off from the church or even hinder them from being blessed in the service.

Use words such us; Hello sir, Welcome mum, Go well brother.

Be quick to learn people’s names and how they prefer to be addressed!

If the church is in a town environment, don’t assume that the visitors talk the local language, unless otherwise, stick to the official languages.

Every usher must grow their communication skills.

Good ushers don’t shout at people; they talk to people!

2. A GOOD USHER BE MUST WELL GROOMED!

We already said that the appearance and conduct of ushers shape part of the first impression a visitor makes of any church.

It is therefore imperative that the usher be well groomed.

The ushers must be smart! Not to mean that they must always have new clothes but that their clothes, hair, shoes etc must be done well.

An usher must not only spend time on the knees but also time in the mirror before coming to church.

If the church has some dress code for ushers, that needs to be adhered to.

If there are some name-tags or badges they should be properly worn.

It is improper to walk around with unkempt hair or hanging shirt or stinking mouth. It is uncharacteristic of a good usher to be untidy!

3. A GOOD USHER MUST BE CONFIDENT!

People tend to respect and Respond to Confident people.

If you are going to direct people you need to know exactly where you are taking them.

You can’t be a walking question mark while people should be coming to you for answers!!

Do your homework well! Read the bulletins in advance!

Have the necessary details and answers that people are likely to ask from you.

Know where for instance people with special needs should seat. Be ready to gently yet firmly stop people from occupying reserved seats.

An usher is a HOST!!! It is wrong to behave like a visitor then expect to serve other visitors well.

4. A GOOD USHER EXCEL IN MULTI-TASKING!

Due to the multiplicity of needs and the difference of the nature of people in our congregations, its paramount that every usher must be prepared to handle many tasks at ago.

It’s possible that within 5 minutes, you can get 7 questions from different people…

One is asking….Where is the Sunday school, another one asks for direction to the washrooms, the other asks when the second service begins, another inquiring of the procedure or envelope for tithing or development project and yet another asking if they can see the senior pastor!

A serious usher must build the mental fortitude to handle such pressure!

In addition, its advisable for the usher to carry a notebook so that some of the things that require later inquiry or reporting are noted!

The ushers must build the capacity to understand fast and respond swiftly yet with a lot of grace and never loosing the smile!!

You can’t be good at multitasking if you are poor in time management. Every effective usher is very much time conscious.

5. A GOOD USHER MUST BE PATIENT AND HAVE A BIG HEART!

Serving people requires a lot of patience!

People even the church going and the born-again believers are not easy.

It is very easy to pick up offense and get angry and bitter when serving people.

Some people are rude, others are ignorant, some are slow learners, others are biased, some are new to the faith and are still stuck in unregenerate mindset; all these will come to church and the ushers will need to handle them.

The ushers have a unique responsibility to identify and try to settle all the “guests of the Lord” in a way that The Lord can minister to them.

People may come very dirty or even drunk? How do you handle them?

They may come dressed improperly, how do you help them without making them look like devils?

The usher, being an extension of the pastor must have a big heart… A heart large enough to welcome, accommodate and help shape the worst of men as they come in to become the saints of Christ!!

QUALIFICATIONS OF AN EFFECTIVE USHER

Not just anyone can be an usher, in the same way that not just anyone can be in the worship team, work in children’s ministry or lead a small group. The right gifts, passion, and ability make a big difference.

1. The usher’s spiritual relationship with the Lord must be continually growing such that his relationship with his fellowmen becomes exemplary.

2. An usher must attend meetings regularly.

3. An usher must constantly desire to develop a team spirit among the members of the ministry.

4. Friendliness is a very important characteristic of a good usher.

5. Other attributes of a good usher are: punctuality, humility, graciousness, kindness, submissiveness, flexibility, cleanness, sensitiveness (alert), faithfulness (dependable), availability, dedicated, poised and most of all, prayerful.

6. An usher should be knowledgeable particularly about the church – its faith, worship gathering schedules, workers, outreaches, ministries and facilities.

SPIRITUAL QUALIFICATIONS OF AN USHER

When the First church in Jerusalem set to choose 7 ushers, they did not just look at outward attributes. This is in Acts 6: 1-4. They went for men WHO WERE FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WISDOM.

From this we learn that a good usher must be spirit filled and seek to walk in the manifest fruit of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25 is a solid guideline for a good usher. This is not about perfection, but a heartfelt motive and desire to live a life of a spirit-filled believer.

Here are the spiritual disciplines that every effective usher must nurture and walk in always in his or her line of faith and service…..

•Love – In 1 Corinthians 13:13 the apostle Paul says, of faith, hope and love, that love is the greatest of these things. If you choose to genuinely love the people you serve as an usher, God will bless your actions.

•Joy – Take God seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up and enjoy the moment. Your spirit will be contagious to others. If you are cold, aloof, and don’t smile (basically, if you are a grumpy usher) you will discourage others around you.

•Peace – You can add peace, calm, and order to what might otherwise be an overwhelming and hectic experience.

•Patience – This is a great quality of a good usher. Most of us are impatient by nature. Many of the people will have waited in line to park, waited in line to give offering, and waited in line for meals. Their patience will be running thin. You can set a good example with your patience toward them.

•Kindness – This is the attitude that makes you approachable as an usher. Going the extra mile can make all the difference in the world! Be imaginative. Think of all the ways you could show kindness to someone as they come to worship.

•Goodness – The inner quality of goodness is a gift that results from the Holy Spirit’s power working within us. This state of being will naturally spill over into your service and bring an intangible but powerful presence into the worship experience.

•Faithfulness – Faithfulness as a Christian bleeds over into your faithfulness as an usher. Showing up, being responsible and doing your ministry well matters to everyone. It matters to God, and it matters to all those who call your church home.

•Gentleness – A mature usher never throws around his or her authority. The best usher is a humble one who seeks to put others first no matter how much pressure may be present in the moment.

•Self-Control – It is impossible to control a large crowd if we cannot control ourselves. In calm moments self-control is easy, it’s under the pressure of hectic moments and last minute changes that your grace and self-control will shine.

Other Qualifications of an Usher

• You must understand the vital role of the usher ministry.

• You must enjoy and care about people.

• You should possess a servant’s heart.

• You need to be committed to the vision of your church.

• You must be supportive of the leadership at your church.

• Though you may probably not be required to usher every Sunday, but when you are on the schedule, you must always give it 100%.

THE 5T’S OF EFFECTIVE USHERING

Over the time I have been involved in the ushering ministry I think there are five cardinal principles for effective ushering. A good usher must embody and embrace these values.

1.Teachable. Ushers should have the right spirit and heart that is easy to serve people and church well. Every usher should be willing to be taught and learn ways to improve. Read the bulletin – get informed, stay informed. Ushers who are ever-learning can greatly enhance the service.

2.Thoughtfulness. Ushers should be looking for ways to serve and help others. Opening doors, assisting visitors, being courteous, and looking for ways to help others along with their other duties can bring a positive reflection for the church.

3.Tactfulness. Ushers should present themselves in being able to communicate well and have a keen sense of knowing what to say, what to do, and where to direct others as a way to maintain good relations and prevent distractions in the service.

4.Timeliness. Ushers should be on time and also timely in bringing assistance to others. An effective usher does not wait to be asked or wait for others to help but is keenly aware of what is going on in the church and allows the flow of the service to continue without distractions.

5.Teamwork. Ushers should work as a team, each one working together as a whole. Ushers should work uniformly in receiving offerings, communion, bringing order to the service in as many ways as possible. If you are on the schedule and can’t make it, be sure to call and let your team leader know. Don’t just fail to show up. Know how to find a replacement if you’re not able to usher when scheduled. People are counting on you. Be a team player. Cover for your fellow usher when needed.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN USHER

1. Faithfully attend church, whether or not you have ushering responsibilities that day.

2. Arrive at the church 30 minutes prior to the start of the service.

3. Dress should be appropriate, descent, clean, and neat.

4. Work and receive instructions from the Chief/Head Usher.

5. Get the bulletins and take them to the assigned positions.

6. Maintain supplies at the Altar, make sure pews have adequate hymnals, Bibles, and offering envelopes if provided. In most churches, these are not provided so your responsibility will be to make sure pews are well organized and neat.

7. Welcome arriving congregants with a warm, friendly smile.

8. Be alert for issues that may need your attention.

9. Provide directions to the nursing mothers, Sunday school children, etc.

10. Assist the elderly and handicapped out of their cars and into the church.

11. Be available for offering, special offerings, and other duties as directed by the Pastor.

12. In some churches, several ushers and church deacons count the offerings and place the offering in the safe.

13. After the offering, at least one usher must remain in the lobby area to offer assistance when needed. They can monitor the hallways for unexpected guests.

14. Be aware of the temperature in the sanctuary.

15. Some churches require an usher to count attendance.

16. Be available around the Altar.

17. After the service has ended, have a designated usher go through the church building to make sure doors and windows are locked and no one else is in the building; And that all left-behind materials or possessions by the congregants are collected and kept safely.

18. Turn off the lights, lock all doors and windows, and ensure all power sources are switched off.

19. Provide Emergency help when needed in an orderly fashion.

20. During rainy months, provide rails for the congregation to scrub away mud and wipe their shoes.

CHIEF/HEAD USHER RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Receive special instructions from the Pastor.

2. Oversee and direct operations of the ushers during the assigned time frame.

3. Make sure special instructions from Pastor is followed through.

4. Contact usher crewmembers prior to the start of the service to make sure there will be an ample number of ushers available. Make usher substitutions when necessary.

5. Conduct pre-service prayer.

6. Provide or organize for teaching and training for all ushers which includes, greeting others, how to handle emergencies, how to assist congregational needs, offering duties, and provide courteous and thoughtful attitude in their role.

7. Maintain open communication with all ushers.

8. Rotate ushers to avoid usher-burnout and allow others to be involved in providing services to the church.

9. Make sure to evaluate the offering procedures to have an air-tight system of removing offerings from the sanctuary to the time it is placed in the church safe for security purposes.

10. Develop and train ushers how to handle overflow seating situations.

11. Maintain church attendance recorded, list of visitor’s details and people with special needs.

USHERS SCOPE OF OPERATION

Take initiative

The cardinal sin of an usher is not to pay attention. At all times watch what is going on in your section and jump in to handle it. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask your team leader. The only wrong choice is to do nothing. Never assume “someone” else is taking care of the need. Pay attention, take the initiative, and make it happen!!

Pre-Briefing and Postmortem Meeting

Have regular meetings of the ushers for the purpose of instruction, exchange of ideas, suggestions, and discussion of experiences and problems. In some churches the ushers meet for fifteen minutes before every worship service.

Fill First Pews First

It is always important to get the front pews filled as early as possible. That is the secret of getting the people to the front. If you allow the rear and center of the hall to be filled first, it will be very difficult to persuade anyone to sit in the front. The reason for this is psycho logical.

It creates the impression that the front pews are undesirable, since others have avoided them. It also makes some people self-conscious. Their timid natures rebel against the idea of going down the aisle past a lot of other people. It fills them with fear.

In large churches it might be well to have ushers stationed at various sections of pews, and to direct the people from one usher to another.

Don’t try to force anyone to sit where he does not want to sit. Ushers must not express surprise or resentment if anyone does not follow to the place where they want to seat him. They must try to act as though nothing unusual had happened, return to such a person, and kindly give him a bulletin. No matter how provoking a situation may be, the ushers should always graciously give in to the wishes of the worshippers. If a reserved section is involved, simply state that it is reserved, and suggest another place. Don’t argue. Don’t try to prove to people that they are on the wrong. Ushers should always know where the empty places are, and never hunt for seats. They should never run after anyone down the aisle.

Be Professional in your Appearance

Conduct your work in a dignified and reverent manner. Ushers should be dressed neatly and appropriately for the worship of God. They should be courteous, pleasant, and kind. They should always “be on the job”. When their duties require them to be on their feet, they should be erect and tending to business. When they do not have to be up, they should be seated so as to be absorbed in the congregation and actively engaged in worship.

Always learn to absorb the pressure when it comes

Most of the ministry of an usher is pure joy. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun. But on occasion, there are moments of pressure when someone is upset, or something isn’t working right. In these moments never transfer the pressure to the person entering into their worship experience. You are the leader. You absorb the pressure. Get help if you need it, but never make the issue their problem. You help deliver a solution.

Own your section, lead your section, shepherd your section.

Seat the worshippers as much as possible where they want to sit. Ushers should study the congregation, learn the favorite places of the members, especially those that are hard of hearing, the near-sighted, the mothers with babies, and those who are ill. Visitors and people who come early are entitled to the best seats, if they want them. But no one ought to insist on his rights contrary to the law of Christian charity. Parents with small children should be seated in the rear, so that they will not disturb the whole congregation if they have to leave, and will feel they can go out without difficulty in case of necessity.

In an average environment with average ushers, once the seats are filled the ushers relax and mentally check out. As leaders, the ushers are empowered to take ownership of the section of seats they serve in and give leadership where needed.

Each usher should do everything in their power to ensure that the people have the best opportunity possible to connect with and hear from God. Each usher can shepherd the people by getting to know them, praying for them, learning their names, and meeting appropriate needs.

Follow the direction of your Chief/Head usher.

All good leaders are good followers. It is important that each usher follows the leadership of the team leader. Be supportive and encouraging. Offer suggestions if you have good ideas, but don’t be overly sensitive if your ideas aren’t used. Your chief usher will do his or her best to serve and lead you and the rest of their team well.

Meet the people with a smile and confidence.

The usher’s job is to move toward and engage people quickly and with the confidence to help them know what to do. Don’t leave people hanging. Let them know that you can handle anything they need and that you are the one that can make this a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Don’t make them come to you and ask. You approach them with confidence and a smile. Take charge with grace and poise.

Be Flexible

The service depends on your flexibility. Don’t get flustered when last minute changes are made. That will happen. Just keep positive, stay flexible and know that creativity is at work to help people connect with and hear from God.

Know and Be Known

An usher must be able to know all members of the church. This will enable the usher to know first timers and be able to possibly detect visitors and people with varying motives. Not being a member of the Church makes it difficult. Make an attempt to know the names of the church members, their family members, where they come from, what they do, how they like to be served including parking slot and sitting position in church. Always have a habit of introducing yourself or putting on a name tag to let people know your names.

Get an accurate people count.

Why does this matter? Why must these numbers be so accurate? Why can’t we just make a good estimate? The answer is that every number represents a person. We want to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us, and therefore it matters that we know how well we are reaching people. Just like in the book of Acts, they counted, recorded, and celebrated how many people were saved. Your church counts too.

Reset and clean up the auditorium.

People will leave papers, cups and “stuff” behind. The glamorous part of an usher’s ministry is cleaning up after each service. Also, rearranging of the seats and collecting litter even outside the church.

Remember, many hands make light work. If all ushers jump in and help, it takes just a few minutes.

GENERAL DUTIES OF THE USHER

Arrival and Departure

1. The usher should arrive at the duty site at least thirty (30) minutes early to pray, to be sure all are ready and early arrivals are made comfortable.

2. Conduct brief orientation to those who are coming for the first time.

3. In the event of special activities, the usher must be ready to come earlier as required.

4. The usher must leave the duty site only when fully satisfied that no further work is needed.

Greeting

1. The usher should greet arrivals in a friendly and cordial manner.

2. There should be no extended conversation so as to delay movement.

3. Any special request like persons wanting to see the pastor or any other person in the church should be attended promptly but should be passed on to other ushers not assigned for greeting.

Seating

1. Whenever possible, arrivals should be conducted to the seats nearest the pulpit, the front seats. This must be done with utmost courtesy without hint of coercion.

2. The ushers should discourage if not stop movement when prayer is being said or when worship is in progress.

3. Conducting to seats may be done before the start of the service, during praise time, during announcements and while the preacher is moving to the pulpit.

4. Arrivals during the sermon should be seated at the back whenever possible but at all times done in such a manner that creates the least disturbance.

5. Ushers assigned to spot vacant seats should remain alert at their post at the longest possible time or until they are satisfied that there will be no more arrivals.

6. Ushers should assist visitors to their seats. Never leave them looking for a place to sit. Know where available seats are when the church is filling up.

7. People with special needs should be helped or even carried to their seats or even wheelchairs.

GENERAL GUIDELINES TO USHERING IN CHURCH

1. Have a close relationship with God. Seek to be anointed because, the usher is the first contact with the people. Pray, fast and meet regularly. This is one step closer to getting to the Lord.

2. An usher’s conduct should be above reproach and should reflect a gentle Godly spirit to all they serve.

3. An usher must display a servant’s heart, willing to always serve anyone, no matter how big or small the request.

4. Greeting people in a warm way makes them feel good about their presence in church. Be a great welcomer to the house of God.

5. Ushers must observe proper personal hygiene; control/elimination of bad breath and body odor.

6. Ushers should not chew gum or any otherway call attention to themselves.

7. All strong smells are a hindrance to your guests and members when serving as a church usher.

Many people cannot tolerate strong odors due to allergic reactions. Colognes and perfumes have to be minimal.

• If I can smell you from 7 feet – that’s too much.

• If your smell stays with me after a hug – that’s too much.

• If I still smell you after you have left the room, that’s too much.

8. An usher must avoid long conversations that could overlook providing a handshake, smile, and greeting to everyone who is in attendance.

9. Ushers should wear their uniforms or the designated attires. Always wear usher’s name badges when on duty.

10. An usher must never place his/her hands on the opposite sex other than a friendly handshake or helping someone at their request. Ask before touching.

11. Only females will place and remove modesty cloths on women around the altar.

12. . Be courteous and tactful at all times. Never react to discourtesy or rebuff, instead act in Christian love.

13. Avoid favoritism or partiality to anyone. Make everyone; members and guests, all feel welcomed and important.

14. Always straighten out any misunderstanding that might arise in the performance of duties.

15. Notify the pastor of the presence of an important person.

16. Keep children quiet, they are not to walk or run around during service. Request the parents to take crying or loud children out. Reserve seats for parents with infants/ toddlers and elderly.

17. Know the plan of action in case of emergency or contingency, such as overflow crowd or sudden outburst of emotion. Ushers assigned in the evening fellowship or night vigil must always carry a flashlight.

18. Be alert in spotting intruders particularly pickpockets who may be posing as worshippers.

19. Ushers need to be ready at all times to respond as directed when there is a disturbance, illness, or other situation that requires special attention.

20. Be ready to serve Holy Communion elements and be familiar with the proper procedures of serving the elements.

21. Be ready to assist those who are assigned at the pulpit or persons rendering special performance offering.

22. Be alert for opportunities to witness and share the Good News.

23. Be alert and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Generally, the ministry of church ushers focuses on the following areas of responsibilities (if they occur in your church)

•Preparing the baptismal pool for baptisms

•Guide people to the currently open seating area with a smile and open posture as they point to where seating is open.

•Reset the church hall for the next service.

•Politely asking for the removal of hats on the men and boys.

•Keeping those praying or dancing “under the power of the Spirit” safe from stumbling into chairs or other worshippers.

•Placing a cover sheet on women who “get overpowered in the Spirit.”

•Catching people who fall or start dancing “in the Spirit.”

•Hospitality Receptions after the service

•Church ushers should be well-versed in emergency procedures. In case of an emergency, the ushers will take the lead in getting people to safety in an orderly manner.

•After the service, ushers will again be at the door to greet the congregation as they leave and provide assistance as needed. In many churches, the ushers will then make sure that the sanctuary is tidy.

•Remain at assigned post throughout the event unless taking an assigned break

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

In the event of an emergency, the safety of the church members is every usher’s first responsibility. Most emergencies are for medical attention or some kind of disturbance with an individual. In these cases, please follow the instructions listed below.

1. Clear the area to allow assistance.

2. Always assign one person to call the police, ambulance or fire brigade where need be.

3. Conduct a scene survey and casualty assessment.

4. Station one person to help emergency personnel to the person who needs help. Have another usher to make sure the isles are clear for emergency personnel.

5. Keep either an usher or experienced medical person from the church, next to the affected person at all times.

6. Encourage others to pray.

7. Assign one person to remain close to the family members and friends.

8. Monitor and make sure the area is not crowded by on-lookers.

Evacuation Procedures

Ushers should maintain order to the best of their ability in the event of any kind of evacuation. In this case, the ushers should start with the last pew or row in the sanctuary and procedure to usher people out to a nearby exit. If the church has front exits, an usher will escort people from the front rows while others are going out the back rows.

Ushers should be assigned to help others in the building at the same time, such as Sunday school church, youth department, checking the washrooms and kitchen, etc. to ensure an evacuation is conducted in a safe and timely manner. It is good for all ushers to check remaining rooms to make sure everyone has evacuated. Once outside, the ushers can determine with others whether anyone is missing.

It should be also emphasized that the evacuation groups should congregate away from the church building in case of a fire or other dangers. It is good for the ushers to have a plan to take people to a place of safety prior to any kind of emergency.

In cases of fire, it is always best to call the fire brigade when in doubt. The longer the delay, there is a greater risk to the building and others.

On a very small fire that can be put out with an extinguisher, put out the fire, and monitor it. Determine whether it was an extremely small fire to not disrupt the service but in most cases evacuations are the best solution. Again, safety comes first and it is always best to be safe.

In putting out a small fire, do not place your safety or the safety of others at risk! If the fire grows too large or aggressive to control by an extinguisher, time and safety are compromised. Exit the building immediately.

Disturbances

Disturbances by mentally ill, distraught persons, or people who wish to disturb the service to gain something else other than respecting the house of God, require discernment on the part of the chief usher and other ushers present. In some cases, the pastor may deal with issues but for the most part, it will be the responsibility of the chief usher and other ushers to carry out the procedures.

1. Determine whether a person needs to be taken out of the sanctuary.

2. Determine how you wish to do this. Most of the times, it can be handled through a gentle but yet firm statement to come with the usher. If the disturbance is overbearing and causing further trouble, it may take a couple of ushers, one on each side, to gently encourage the person to another place. If they still refuse to be removed, then contact a senior elder or senior pastor for further assistance.

3. Determine a safe place to deal with this person and firmly state this type of behavior is not wanted or accepted in our services. Please distinguish between the person and the behavior. Most churches welcome everyone but not the disruptive behaviors.

4. Determine whether the person will stop or will have to be asked to leave the building. If they refuse, you may have to call the police department for help to remove this person.

5. If an individual is distraught due to grief, please ask them to step out and gently escort them out of the sanctuary. Ask the grieving person, “How can we help?” or “We have someone who will pray with you, please come with me.”

Please do this in a loving and tactful manner. Have another usher to get senior elders to come pray with them.

6. On disturbances of family battles where one person attends church and another comes into the church to see their children or spouse, please escort the troubling person out of the sanctuary or area where the spouse or children are. In today’s times, there are so many legal issues of restraining orders, custody battles, etc. and unfortunately, there are times when others will try to take advantage of picking up a child they could not previously see or have a setting they think they can freely talk to their spouse.

7. Because of these and other issues that may arise in the course of the service, a good usher comes prepared mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

LATEST TRENDS

In keeping with the changing times we must be cognizant of new realities that did not exist many years ago. The new ways of doing things brings with it new challenges which then puts a demand on us to find innovative ways to tackle them. Just to mention a few….

1.Evolvement of online church. There is a big number of online followers through YouTube, Facebook and videos shared by members via WhatsApp. They too need to be considered and be informed. Almost everyone who attends your church for the first time has already been to your church virtually…online, or heard about it.

2.Need for bigger and spacious car Parking slots as more believers drive to church. This creates the need to have a designated team for the parking area to receive, help arrange the vehicles, greet the congregation at the parking and record the vehicle details.

3.Preference of congregation to take photos and videos during the sermon or various presentations for future reference. Some churches allow these while others don’t. The ushers must be aware of these and help to enforce the policy of the church in this regard.

4.More church members preferring to pay tithe and offerings via mobile money transfer, bank account or visa card rather than dropping at the offering bag. Ushers must be well informed and able to guide congregants who may need details of paybill numbers or specific account numbers to use.

5.Most are people not sensitive with their dress codes when coming to church thus causing distractions and creating unnecessary attention

6.Kidnapping and child abduction is on the rise thus there is need to have tight security and children control within the sanctuary. No kid should be left to walk out of the church compound without being accompanied by their guardian or parents who are well known by the ushers.

7.The need for a nursing room for breast feeding mothers and those who want to change their young ones.

8.The children playing on the bouncing castles and other play facilities should always be monitored by one or more ushers to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves

Every effective ushering team must be on the lookout to identify emerging trends and seek to put in place necessary systems and protocols.

Innovation is a must for us to maintain an excellent service to God and to his people. We must be ready to think and adjust quickly in our methods of operation when need arises.

CONCLUSION

Brethren, it’s my hope and prayer that the few words of wisdom, instruction and encouragement on this subject of Effective Church Ushering have been a blessing to you.

I pray with all my heart that we shall continue to equip and enhance our ushering departments in our churches.

I know and have already said to you that the conduct and performance of ushers can make or break the outcome of the service. People may build a negative or positive attitude about a church just by how they are handled by an usher.

We may never have a second chance to make the first impression thus we should endeavor to be very effective in our ushering. In doing all this we should never think, I am working for the church… remember always… I am serving God. Do it so well that God will say, well done my good and faithful servant.

I love you and pray God’s grace and blessing over you as you serve him with all your heart, mind and strength.

I am available upon prior arrangement for speaking engagements on this subject as well us for Ushers Training.

GOD BLESS YOU!

For more information on speaking engagements, or to make bookings for Trainings and seminars both on Ushering and Safety, you can reach me through these contacts: –

✓ Email: info@ambstevembugua.co.ke

mbuguasteve84@gmail.com

✓ Whatsapp Only: +254-724036078

✓ Facebook: Amb Steve Mbugua

✓ Twitter: Amb Steve Mbugua

✓ Linkedin: Amb Steve Mbugua

✓ Youtube: Amb Steve Mbugua

CHECK: https://www.ambstevembugua.co.ke/blog

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About the Author

AMB. STEVE MBUGUA

Amb. Steve Mbugus is an enthusiastic Ambassador of Safety and wellness with in-depth training, safety advisory and Workplace Safety Behavior Change Coaching experience. He is the am the Founder and Executive Director of Makinika Afrika Int’l , a Health and Safety Training Firm in Kenya  and Group CEO  Nairobi Safety Shop Limited, the largest Security, Safety and Health Store in the East and Central Africa and Managing Director, Stewa Safaris Kenya Limited a Premier  Tours and  Travels Company in Kenya.

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[…] 5.Teamwork. Ushers should work as a team, each one working together as a whole. Ushers should work uniformly in receiving offerings, communion, bringing order to the service in as many ways as possible. If you are on the schedule and can’t make it, be sure to call and let your team leader know. Don’t just fail to show up. Know how to find a replacement if you’re not able to usher when scheduled. People are counting on you. Be a team player. Cover for your fellow usher when needed. Please click to study the Ushering Manual […]

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