If you’ve just stumbled upon this post, it’s probably because someone’s asked you to give welcome speeches — or maybe it’s something you do regularly and you want to improve. We’ve got you covered.
Not only will you find 10 welcome speeches to kick off your next church service or large event, but also important principles to remember when preparing for the next time you need to welcome people to the next gathering.
Are welcome speeches necessary?
Whenever you have a large number of people gathered, it’s important to round them up and focus them on the reason that you’re all together. Even though we’ve come to call this initial address a “welcome speech,” it’s so much more than that.
When done right, a welcome speech gets people focused, sets the tone for the meeting, gives some sense of the agenda and outcomes, and gets everything off on the right foot.
Because welcome speeches tend to be brief and are seen as perfunctory, they’re often given without adequate preparation. Even the most seasoned speaker should shy away from completely improvising.
The dangers of winging a welcome speech
While it’s entirely possible to give a fantastic impromptu speech, there are reasons why it’s best to give some thought to your welcome speech. Here are some of the hazards of inadequate preparation.
One of the surest signs that someone hasn’t done their work in preparation is babbling. It’s easy to come up with a couple of points you want to hit on, and think you’re prepared. What you inevitably forget is how unnerving it becomes when 100 pairs of eyes are trained on you.
In that moment, you might remember your speech’s intended destination, but entirely forget how to get there. That’s when the prattling starts. In the moment it becomes really hard to know when you’ve sufficiently made the point you wanted—so you just keep talking . . .
The other side of the rambling coin is the stammering. When you haven’t cemented the opening remarks you want to say, it’s so easy to get stuck on a mental loop. Your brain’s going 1,000 miles a second trying to construct your speech, and your mouth stutters as it’s waiting for the message to be delivered.
Making bad jokes
Both the person that’s rambling and the one that’s flustered try to ease their stress by cracking wise. Nothing breaks tension like jokes, right? Well, not so fast. Jokes are like chicken: wonderful if properly prepared, but when you start serving them up only half baked, you have a good chance of poisoning everyone.
When your brain is struggling to feed you the next line, it’s not going to do a good job determining how good a joke is. In this situation, it’s easy to throw out a quip that’s:
Neglecting important information
It’s likely that there are important points or directions that need to be communicated during a welcome speech. You might think, “It’s only a couple of items. What are the chances that I’ll forget them?” The chances are better than you think.
4 rules to follow with these welcome speeches
Before we get into the content of a welcome speech, here are a couple rules you want remember when you’re giving your address.
Don’t read it
You’re setting the tone of this gathering, and most of the time you’re trying to make people comfortable. The key to being prepared lies in being able to speak in a way that feels extemporaneous.
You can definitely bring a card with some notes on it, but it’s there as a guide, not a crutch.
Make eye contact
Being personable isn’t too difficult. You just want to appear cool, calm, and confident. Preparedness will help you get there, and meeting the gaze of people in the room is going to help sell it.
Talking too fast is almost inevitable when you’re not used to speaking in public. You get up there and adrenaline starts pumping through you and you end up speaking three time faster than you realize.
As crazy as it sounds, speak a little more slowly than feels comfortable.
Polonius speaks the truth in Hamlet when he says, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Keep your welcome tight and concise and everyone will think you did brilliantly!
Elements of a good welcome speech
Most good welcome speeches are going to share some common components. But they might need to be packaged or delivered differently based on the kind of event you’re greeting people for. Here are five things every good welcome speech should do:
Introduce the event (and yourself)
Start by welcoming everyone to the event and introducing yourself. This can be as simple as “Welcome to Redeemer Lutheran Church. My name is Susan.”
This is just a brief explanation of what people can expect to happen at the event. This should be as simple as possible. You’re not breaking everything down at an atomic level, you’re just giving a quick synopsis.
Give important practical information
Let people know what they may need to know in order to enjoy themselves. This could include things like:
- The location of restrooms
- A reminder to turn down cell phones
- Where refreshments can be found
Let visitors know that they’re welcome. It’s amazing how much tension is alleviated in visitors when they’re told, “We know there are some new people here.” This gives them permission to figure stuff out as they go.
You’ll also want to address any methods you use to capture their contact information. A simple, “If you’re new here today, we want to extend to you a special welcome. In the pew in front of you is a contact card, we’d love for you to fill it out and drop it in the offering basket so we can get to know you better.”
Let them know what’s next
After you’ve welcomed everyone, your job is to smoothly transition to the next thing. That might mean that you’re encouraging them to welcome a speaker or releasing them to get food or refreshments. Whatever it is, make sure that you’re helping to facilitate the next steps.
Don’t forget prayer
If the situation calls for it, you can also open in prayer. The same general rules apply to public prayers that apply to welcome speeches. Unless you have some experience under your belt, it’s better to over-prepare than it is to wing it.
Welcome speech templates
Here are some templates for various welcome speeches that you can use for your next gathering. Feel free to use these as springboards to get your creative juices flowing!
Welcome speech #1
Good morning! My name is [NAME] and I’d like to welcome you to [CHURCH NAME]. If this is your first time here, we’d like to thank you for coming and we hope that you’ll be comfortable. We look forward to spending the next [service time period i.e. hour] worshiping with you. You’ll find a contact card in [location], please fill that out—we’d love to get to know you better.
Please remember [include any pertinent information about childcare, cell phone usage, or whatever here].
Please join with me in prayer. [Insert prayer*]
As the worship team comes forward, join me in singing [song title].
Welcome speech #2
Hi! My name is [name] and we’re really glad that you decided to join us this morning. If this is your first time at [church name], we want to let you know how excited we are that you’re here. I hope that our casual environment will help you feel comfortable. I also want to let you know that [include any pertinent information about childcare, cell phone usage, or whatever here]. Lastly, please take a moment and fill out the comment card that can be found [location]. We’d love to get to know a little bit more about you, and how we can serve or pray for you.
Let’s ask God to bless our time together. [Insert prayer*] [Introduce next element]
Welcome speech #3
Good evening. My name is [name] and it is my pleasure to welcome the families, friends, and teachers of our [year] graduating class. It seems like just yesterday that these graduates were preparing for their first years here at [school name], and here we are celebrating their great accomplishments.
We want to thank each and every one of you for the part you have played in helping each of these students get here. Your sacrifice has made their [high school, middle school, college, etc.] career successful. Thank you.
Throughout the program we’ll hear from some of the faculty and a few of the students, pass out diplomas, and send these students on the next part of their journey. [Insert whatever elements you need to include]
Please remember to [insert important information]. And join me as we welcome [next presenter/speaker].
Welcome speech #4
Families and friends of the [year] graduates of [school name], my name is [name] and the faculty and I would like to welcome you to this wonderful evening. We look forward to remembering some of the fun and inspirational stories from the last [number] years.
This journey would have been impossible without the love, support, and encouragement of each one of you here tonight. So before we even begin, the faculty and students would like to thank you for the important role you played in this evening.
Lastly, we’d like to remind you that [insert important information].
Now, please join me in welcoming [next presenter/speaker].
Picnics, potlucks, and get togethers
Welcome speech #5
Hello everyone, I just really want to thank you for coming out. It’s nice to see so many familiar faces. If this is your first time with us, my name is [name] and we [if appropriate insert the name of the church or organization] want to extend the warmest welcome to you. We hope that you can use this time to make some important connections and build some relationships.
A couple things before we get started: [Insert any important information]. When I excuse you, we’ll start by [give directions for the next element]. [Share about any other events that will be happening during the gathering].[Insert prayer* if appropriate]
Welcome speech #6
Welcome! If you don’t know me my name is [name] from [organization or church], and we’re really excited that you all were able to come out and join us for [name of gathering]. If you’re new here, we’re glad you’re with us and we’d all love an opportunity to get to know you better.
The reason we’re here today is [reason—it can be as simple as an opportunity to share a meal and enjoy some fellowship]. It’s going to be an awesome time of fun, food, and [include other elements that will occur.]
In a minute I’m going to excuse you and we’ll [insert directions]. Please note that [important reminders or information.]
Thank you and welcome again!
Business or membership meeting
Welcome speech #7
Good [morning, afternoon, evening]. Thanks for making time to be here for [name of meeting type]. Our objective is to go over these items [briefly list topics] and be done in [time period]. If time allows we’ll also discuss [auxiliary items].[If there are people who are new to this meeting] It looks like there are some new people here, so let’s quickly go around the room and introduce ourselves. From there, [name] will be taking minutes and we can get down to business.
Welcome speech #8
Children are a gift from God. To recognize this gift and the responsibility to the parents, to the extended family, and to the community of faith, we are gathered to dedicate this child. My name is [name], and on behalf of the family, I would like to welcome you to [church name] for this wonderful event.
We believe that Christian parents have a wonderful joy, privilege, and duty to raise our children in a way that honors God. Because our children ultimately belong to God, it only seems appropriate that we take the time to dedicate [child name] to God.[Any important information that people need to know about the ceremony or for after the ceremony.] [Prayer if appropriate unless someone else is performing this step.]
Let’s welcome [person responsible for dedication] up to the front as we begin.
Welcome speech #9
Good morning! We’re so thankful that you have chosen to worship with us at [church name] as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you’re a regular attender or are just visiting with us this morning, we’re glad that you’re with us—and we’re excited to sing some Christmas carols and talk about what the season’s all about with you.
My name’s [name] and I just wanted to let you know [important service information]. If you’re visiting, it would mean a lot if you’d take a second fill out one of the contact cards in [location of contact information] and deposit it [wherever your church puts them]. We’re looking forward to getting to know you better.
Won’t you pray with me? [Insert prayer] [Introduce next service element]
Welcome speech #10
Welcome to [church name]! My name is [name], and I am excited you’re worshiping with us this Easter. If you’re a visitor, we want to thank you for joining us on the most celebratory Sunday of the year. Today we’ll be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ with singing, teaching, [any other elements Sunday will include].
If you’re new here, please take a second right now to fill out a contact card located in [card location] and drop it in the offering plate as it come by. This will help us get to know you better.
Please note that [insert important information that needs to be known about the service].
Join me as we pray.[Introduce next service element]
It’s not inappropriate to plan your prayer out ahead of time. Here is a prayer that you can use to accompany any of these welcome speeches, or feel free to create your own.
Lord Jesus, we are thankful that you are among us today. Unless your Spirit is among us today, our gathering is in vain. Please lead and guide us as we worship you with our activities here today. We thank you for your goodness and graciousness.
Making a place for visitors to feel welcome
One of the main reasons that welcome speeches are so important is because they put visitors at ease. If you’re interested in learning more, download the free New Visitor Checklist, and make sure your church is ready to welcome new visitors.