Besides the usual reminders to be warm and helpful—"May I escort you to the 3rd grade classroom, so you can see where your son will be having fun this morning?"—we train greeters at our church in how to use camouflage. By that, I mean we don't really have identifiable greeters. Instead, our ushers—the ones who politely insist on filling in all empty seats and arrange people so that everyone, even newcomers, can sit next to someone else—have name badges, but not our greeters.
A greeting by an official greeter doesn't register as a genuine greeting to most guests. Greeting is what greeters are supposed to do; it's their job. Research tells us that unless a newcomer has several meaningful interactions with people in the church in the first few weeks that they attend, they won't continue to come. An interchange with someone wearing a badge doesn't figure in that count. If, on the other hand, the greeter knows that she is a greeter, but the guest does not, that chatty ...1