Ushers table, info desk and action tables

When it comes to hard copy information, our ministries are often in a muddle. We often don't have all the information we need, or it looks bad, or it's out of date, or we have too much irrelevant information, or it's in the wrong place. We probably do all of those things.

Here are some thoughts to sharpen up the way we make hard copy information available during our church gatherings and other ministry meetings:

1. Ushers table

This is the table exclusively for the things that everyone needs to be given, or at least offered, when they arrive. This is not for all the random promotional material. This is for the 'gold status' promotional stuff: the stuff you want to put in everyone's hands:

  • Bible and pen

  • contact card

  • whole church conference

  • weekly bulletin and songsheet

  • important budget update

  • upcoming mission event flier

  • newcomers guide, for newcomers

The great thing about keeping this separate from other kinds of information is that you can really sharpen up the main things you really want to promote, rather than overwhelming people with everything.

The important thing with the usher table (as with all the desks and tables in this post) is that the ushers actually put the stuff into people's hands. Don't leave it alone, you risk people walking by and not grabbing the necessary materials.

2. Information Desk

The stuff that is not for everyone to take for that specific meeting, should be put on a separate desk. This is the general information hub. The other materials you want to draw people's attention to, as it is relevant to them:

  • mission partners updates

  • events that you want to promote but are not high priority

  • detailed information on the church and its programs for people who want to find out more

  • books

Depending on how big your church or ministry is, you may have multiple information desks, for different ministries - for example a kids ministry info desk.

A few things are important here:

  • like the usher table, it needs to be manned, so we can actually interact with, and help people, who are looking at stuff... but it is a bit more like a retail sales assistance - offer help, but don't impose.

  • this can have more stuff on it than an usher table should, but still keep it clean, up to date and not over-crowded. I have noticed that often the smaller and more stagnant a church is, the more junk they have on their info table!

  • put your key 'about our church' and 'how to become a Christian' stuff front and centre.

  • put it somewhere that will help newcomers be able to hide-by-browsing. Generally that means near to doors and exits, so they don't feel trapped.

3. Action table

Finally, there's the place where people can go to take concrete actions: sign up for a newcomers night, register for a church camp, express interest in joining a small group.

This is more narrow than the information table in the sense that it is a call to action. It is not just general information. It may not necessarily even be a table at all, there are other ways of doing it, or multiple approaches you can use simulatenously:

  • it could all be done by filling out contact cards

  • it could be done with roving volunteers with clipboards

If there's anything you are going to make sure is always manned, then this is it. And ideally the people who man it are the people who are interested in the actions: if you have 'join a small group' on the table, then have some of your small group leaders there.

This action table may change or rotate its content over the year, depending on what the key next actions are. But there are some things that will be fairly constant.

It should definitely be near the main entry/exit... but this may be the after-church exit: in the main tea hall/social area. You may even need them in two places.

The power of the action table is that it doesn't rely on people knowing people, or having to initiate talk with strangers. And it also helps both the appointed volunteers and regular members broach the topic of next steps, in a more obvious manner.

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