USHER TRAINING MANUAL
Welcoming and Directing
Once the doors open for a service, it is too late to make new plans or to give detailed instructions to the ushers. The usher's job has now begun! By this time, all instructions should have been given according to the plans that have been organized. It is time to work the plan that has been set forth for the particular service. Ushers should know:
A. What time does the service start?
B. Where are the restrooms?
C. Where is the nursery?
D. What seats in the sanctuary have been reserved?
You may have your mind on the things you have been assigned to do, but these questions are important to the ones asking them. You must remember that you are in a public relations position as well as in a position of ministry. Therefore, you must:
A. Walk in love, and let the love of Jesus Christ radiate through you at all times.
B. Take time to smile and be friendly.
C. Take people's hands and greet them (even if they have already been greeted at the door) because a TOUCH of love is important!
D. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. If you don't know the answer, don't be embarrassed to say you don't know. However, check on their questions and give them answers.
E. Look sharp! Have your coat buttoned, shoes shined, tie in position, fresh breath, etc. NO CHEWING GUM!
F. Watch your actions! A hurried usher with a worried look does not minister peace. If you have the joy of the Lord, let your face know it! If you don't, stop for prayer before the service begins.
G. Watch your words! Minister in love, faith, and hope. Let Philippians 4:8 govern your words and actions: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Remember that you are in charge, so walk with the authority that God has invested in you. The real challenge of an usher usually begins as he attempts to maintain authority and walk in love at the same time.
Remember to work as a team, for it's not a “one-man” show! Teamwork sets an atmosphere for a stronger anointing to flow in the service. Your chief purpose as an usher is to see that everyone who comes to the service receives what he has come for from the Lord before he leaves. To do this, you must carry out an orderly system of enforcing certain rules and regulations. You must be ready for last-minute changes, but don't let changes upset you.
Be flexible. Be able to shift either to a higher or to a lower gear, depending upon the instructions from the one ministering. Whenever you receive instructions from the pastor to do something at the last minute, respect him and submit to those instructions, as he is the higher authority. Don't complain, don't pout, and don't feel inferior. Just know that your pastor hears from the Spirit of God, and there is a reason for the last-minute changes.
Even in situations where you feel the instructions of the pastor are wrong, submit and obey them. If they are wrong, he will correct them later, if necessary. You are assigned to assist and be of help. Do your job to the best of your ability and all will go well.
Guideline for Seating People
A. Fill the front rows first.
B. Have people move together (sit together) and do not leave any single seats between them.
C. Know how many seats you have in your section, and fill it from the front to the back.
D. Know how many seats you have in the first three rows. When you have three empty seats in the first row and a party of three comes in, you will know exactly where to seat them. By knowing your sections and the availability in each you will then be able to fill them expediently! Do not be concerned with any section other than the one to which you have been assigned. After you have filled the front three rows, then do the same with the next three rows, etc.
E. As you seat from front to back, you will keep latecomers from disturbing people. All of the empty seats in the front rows will already be filled.
F. Keep open to your special sections, as they cannot always be filled in the same order as the regular sections. (This would include sections, such as those for visitors, staff, guests of the ministry, employees, deaf, blind, wheelchairs, cots, etc.)
G. There will usually be reserved seats for the ushers. However, seats are usually not reserved for spouses or special friends. You will need to go by the rules of the particular ministry or speaker.
H. There should be no seating allowed in the first three rows or on the side front sections for babies and small children. This is especially important when videotaping is being done.
I. Attempt to get to know the people in your section so problems can be prevented BEFORE they occur.
Once the singing or worship begins, the ushers and all people working with the service need to shift into another gear. It is now time for the entire body of believers to get their minds on God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and become aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit with respect and reverence.
There are many things that the ushers, hostesses or greeters and the ones leading the music can do to create a worshipful atmosphere. During the worship, praise, and prayer portions of the service, the ushers should spread out around the walls and get involved with the service. As an usher, you are part of the service, and your actions will affect the service. You can help the people on the platform as follows:
· If they are singing - sing.
· If they are clapping - clap.
· If they are laughing - laugh
· If they are dancing - dance.
· If they are weeping - weep.
· If they are praising God - praise God.
Don't stand around like wooden soldiers. Be sincere. Don't fake it. You may have to start in the flesh, but you will quickly be caught up in the Spirit as you join in with the activities of the service. Remain alert to your duties, however, as you continue to welcome and seat the people until the worship begins. You will need to keep your eyes open as you worship since your duties have just begun. You are expected to worship and to get involved in the service, but you must remain alert with your eyes open. If you close your eyes, you may miss any one of the following situations:
· The pastor may be trying to get your attention.
· The musicians may be trying to get your attention.
· A situation may be developing that you need to take care of immediately.
· There may be someone out of order who is trying to approach the platform.
· A guest of the ministry may he arriving late.
· Wheelchair patients may come in late and need your direction to find their
designated area for seating.
Ushers Responsibilities for Seating
How do you hold people or stop them in the back in a gracious manner? It is all iin how you say it! Let the person know why you cannot seat them and tell them when you will seat them, for example: "Good evening, it is so good to see you today! Our pastor is leading us in prayer at this moment and we are unable to seat anyone at this moment, but I will seat you as soon as the prayer time is over." Remember some people are brand new to Smyrna First and they don't know what is going on.
· Welcome Visitors and Announcements - open seating
· Singing - open seating
· Offering - open seating
· Teaching - open seating in back only
NEVER SEAT PEOPLE DURING PRAYER OR THE READING OF SCRIPTURE
Latecomers should be held at the doors until this part of the service is concluded. Some of the reasons why you need to hold the people at the doors and control the movement at this time are:
· It is difficult to worship the Lord when people are stepping on your toes, or when
they are tapping you on the shoulder to ask you to move so they can he seated.
· When people realize that they can worship with their total attention on Jesus, there is
more freedom to worship; and it lays the groundwork for a higher level of praise.
In sum, you are also an impression of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, therefore, let the joy of the Lord shine through you - smile, be warm, be interested in people - even when you have to do something difficult.
Seating People During the Singing Portion of the Service
The first part of the service usually involves singing. Many times singing is used to get people in their seats so the service may begin. Music should not be used in this way, but with some congregations it may be mandatory. Music is used to create an atmosphere of peace and well being, as many of the people who have come into the service have rushed around In their daily routines and are still uptight. During this time, it is still permissible to seat people.
Seating People Once the Service Has Begun
The following suggestions should he helpful in seating people once the service has begun:
· Seat people near the front. Front seats, as discussed earlier, should always be filled
· Never just stand and watch when people come into the service, whether the service
has begun or not. Immediately move to help people.
· When people are held at the doors during these special times of worship, they should
not be seated until the ushers receive a signal from the head usher that it is now
permissible to do so.
· When you have latecomers in walkers or older people who find it difficult to stand,
attempt to seat them near the back if seats are available.
· During prayers, altar calls, and offerings, the same procedures should be followed in
stopping people from entering the services. At the conclusion of each of these
portions of the service, they may be seated.
Taking Pictures During the Service
There should be no picture taking other than directed by the senior pastor himself. There are several reasons for this.
· Flash bulbs many times disturb people in the congregation.
· When flash bulbs go off, they sometimes cause the anointing to lift from the speaker.
· The moving about with the picture taking is sometimes distracting. (People will many
times watch the photographer and will not hear what the speaker is saying.)
Responsibilities of Ushers in the Back of Auditorium
Ushers in the back of the auditorium must remain alert at all times, pray in the Spirit continually, and be of help in the following areas where possible: Open and close the doors for people, especially for the latecomers, for those leaving early, to avoid slamming or squeaking of the doors which can be very distracting.
Be responsible for handling these areas:
· People looking for the nursery
· Messages for the platform (give to head usher if possible)
· Counting of number of people at the meeting
· Watching and assisting with any movement or activity during the service
· Remaining alert to actions during the service
· Controlling the thermostats
ATTITUDE (1 Corinthians 14:40-"Let all things be done decently and in order").
· Keep order in the service
· Prevent interruption.
· Help those near the baby.
· Parents not attempting to quiet a child.
· Children standing in chairs.
· Children turned around.
· Noisy or distracting playthings.
When to remove
· Listen to your spirit.
· Before the platform is disturbed.
· Disturbing those near the baby.
· Parents not attempting to quiet a baby.
· Be pleasant to both the parent and baby.
· First trip: SUGGEST alternate area. If they want to stay, instruct that they MUST
stop the disturbance.
· Second trip INSIST on alternate area.
· Be as quick as possible.
· Wait in back while parent gathers belongings.
· Don't create a hostile atmosphere.
· Avoid feelings of anger.
· Avoid projecting condemnation.
· If parents refuse to leave, don't force the situation.
· Be courteous-open all doors.
· Escort all the way to alternate area.
· Project attitude of appreciation.
· Don't apologize or act defensive.
· Give reasons for removal only if questioned or if you sense tension. (Explain that
others are not used to noise.)
· When back in main room, check vacated area for dropped or forgotten items.
· Carry only misplaced items.
· Don't remove any personal items.
· Always speak directly to the person who has a disability. (Don't consider a
companion to be a conversational go-between).
· Don't hesitate to ask the person who has a disability if you can help him or her in any
· Whenever possible seat disabled parishioners with their families or friends.
· Don't ignore disabled people. Acknowledge his or her presence normally as you
would anyone else's and attempt to include him or her in whatever activity you are
doing. A warm smile and a friendly conversation are very welcoming.
· Don't hesitate to use words like see, walk, listen, etc. with disabled people.
Touch is often a very effective communicator of love, concern and understanding. Use positive language when referring to disabilities rather than using negative terms such as "crippled", "stricken", "afflicted" or "victims".
· When greeting a person who has a visual impairment, be sure to identify yourself.
· Explain to a person who has a visual problem where things are located.
· If the blind person has a guide dog, ask how much room is needed.
· Offer a bulletin to a person with a visual impairment (whether you think they can
read it or not).
· Direct a blind person to his or her seat.
· Explain the pattern of service and give clear, simple instructions. i.e., "go up the
center aisle and down the outside aisle"
· Offer assistance during the Communion and extend your elbow to guide: never grab
· Speak clearly and slowly, but don't exaggerate or shout (Sometimes it may be
necessary to communicate in writing.)
· Try to stand in front of the light source in order to provide a clear view of your face.
· (Never speak directly into the person's ear.)
· Try to seat in an appropriate position in front of the preacher/celebrant (especially
when there is no signer present).
· Look directly at the person and speak expressively; remember your facial
expressions, gestures and body movements help in understanding. Just relax: you
don't need to be an expert in sign language to do this.
· Try to give whole, unhurried attention to the person who has difficulty speaking.
· Remember the person with a speech impairment may have his or her own means of
communication other than by speech, such as writing
· Try not to move a wheelchair or crutches out of reach of the person who uses them.
· A person who uses a wheelchair may be able to walk, that person still needs the
· Ask the person who and where he or she wants to receive the Communion and
make sure that the pastor is aware of this.
· Don't discourage the person from going to the front of the sanctuary steps or other
stations to receive. The act of going forward may be an essential component of their
· If lifting a wheelchair, be sure to follow the person's instructions implicitly. They have
been up and down the steps before.
· If there are any questions of your ability, look for stronger, more able ushers, helper.
(We are all disabled in one way or another.)
Maintaining Closet Items
Ushers should know where the following items are found?
· First Aid Kit
· Heart Monitor
· Hearing Aids
· Lost and Found Collection Box
· Nursery Handouts
· Offering Plates
Five Things That Drives Your Pastor Crazy
· Babies that continually cry (immediate response is needed)
· Small children sitting alone without parental supervision (ask someone to sit with
· Someone walking down to the front row while I am preaching (stop them at the door)
· Not having someone assist me when I need help (check with me before each service)
USHER’S UNPARDONABLE SIN: NOT PAYING ATTENTION
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” John Wesley
· Anticipate needs
· Walk the second mile
· Always be close by
· Be attentive to others
WORDS MEAN EVERYTHING
Situation: something special is going on in sanctuary:
No: “You can’t go in now.”
Yes: “We will seat you in just a moment.”
Situation: someone arrives late:
No: “You’re late. You’ll have to sit in the back.”
Yes: “Since the service has started, we have a place for you in the back.”
Situation: people are talking too loudly.
No: “You just can’t stand here in everyone’s way.”
Yes: “Would you like to visit over here where people will not interfere with your conversation?”
Situation: Teenagers talking too loud in sanctuary.
No: “You guys shut up.”
Yes: “Will you young people help us promote reverence in the sanctuary?”
The Four C’s Of Good Ushering
· Arrive 45 minutes before the service
· Take assigned positions
· Check for adequate supplies
· Welcome the arriving people
· Pass out bulletins
· Properly seat the people
· Be attentive during service
· Handle any special requirements during the service
· Straighten up after the service
· Smile! Smile! Smile!