On Wednesday May 15th, the ushers ministry team met to review the revised duties of an St. Edwards usher. Primarily focused on the worship service and various other activities supported by the ushers. Please contact Mike Leary if you are called to serve!!!! All are welcome!!!
Job Title: Usher
Reports To: Pastor / Worship Committee / Verger
Position Status: Church Volunteer
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.
Job Responsibilities and Duties
The usher duties can be summed up in a few words – making people feel welcome at church, assisting Pastors and teachers with people management, assisting with seating, collecting offering, and maintaining a safe environment.
The outline below shows how to perform those duties. Please review this material carefully and feel free to ask any questions and bring up issues that you feel need to be addressed.
Outside of Service:
- Regularly attend church services, events and activities.
- You are expected to serve every week during your assigned month. This includes any holidays or worship services during the month that ushers are requested.
- If you are unable to attend service when scheduled as an usher, you need to find a replacement and notify the usher team leader.
Before Service Begins:
- The assigned ushers will coordinate between them the duties of the ushers for the service they are responsible for on that day.
- The assigned ushers should also assure that any new usher on the team is comfortable with their role.
- Arrive 15 – 20 minutes before the start of the service.
- Display the usher badges on your clothing as to be visible to easily recognize you as an usher. Please be sure to return them before you leave after the service.
- Make sure that there are offering plates in the back of the church near the usher seats.
- Walk the pews, check for offering envelopes, hymnals out of place, verify there are pens.
- Two ushers will distribute the bulletins and greet worshipers making every attempt to help them feel welcome and at ease. The bulletins should already be available when you arrive, if not, check the office.
- If the greeters are late or not present, another usher can serve as the greeter.
- Be available to answer questions of anyone needing assistance.
- Be alert for guests. Have them sign the guest book following the service. Encourage them to attend post-service fellowship. Try to introduce them to an existing member of the congregation.
- If someone gives you a prayer request, pass it along to a member of the alter guild or directly to the Pastor.
- Identify older children or adults who would be willing to take the gifts or help with offering. Review the roles with them outside of the church to limit the amount of noise the conversation may generate.
During the Service:
- Record worship attendance. Include all congregation in attendance, the Pastor, servers, organist, choir, nursery personnel, infants, and ushers. Record this in the alter guilds dressing room.
- One usher will remain in the back of the church during the entire service. The remaining usher(s) will sit in the back of the church near the entrance to help with late arrivals.
- After the service has started, people may be ushered into church during hymns and other parts of the service when the congregation sings. If someone arrives during periods when the congregation is engaged in confession or prayer, when the Bible is being read, or when Pastor is reading the liturgy, an usher should suggest that it would be appropriate to wait a few minutes until that portion of the service is finished before entering. However, in all circumstances, at no time should a confrontation occur between an usher and a worshiper.
- Ushers should walk the grounds, stop in every building to observe who is there and what they are doing, verify doors that are looked and make sure they are locked on purpose.
- Encourage people in the halls to go into the service. Intervene to minimize activities in the halls that would be disruptive to the service.
- At least two (2) ushers are needed for this activity. An additional 2 ushers can be added to help pass the plates from the outsides of the pews. Once completed, gather at the back of the church with 2 volunteers for taking up the gifts.
- Present the plates to the acolyte and bow together after the gifts have been handed over to an acolyte.
- Please also find someone (ideally before the service begins) to bring up the Red Wagon to be blessed during the Offering Hymnal.
- Two (2) ushers are needed for this activity. After the choir has made its way down from the choir loft, please proceed to the front of the church via the center aisle.
- Bow together and then gesture to the first pew for anyone taking communion to stand up and get in line to proceed up to the alter. Repeat this back through each row of pews until no one is left to take communion.
- The ushers should commune together as the last group.
- Please indicate if there are anyone who wishes to take communion but is not able to come up front at this time. Confirm this while at the alter to take communion Bow only after anyone has received communion in the pews.
- After communion is received, stand at the front of the church and bow together and walk back to the usher seating area near the main doors.
- Be alert for any emergency that may arise. Attempt to relieve the need or contact the person(s) needed to provide the proper assistance.
- If it is a high attendance service such as Easter or Christmas Eve, have extra folding chairs in reserve outside the sanctuary. The extra chairs are in the church admin building stair well or Nicholson Hall.
- Provide parking lot attendance and assistance when needed, especially during rainy days.
- Escort members and guests to their seats when the church is full, and seating is limited with other ushers looking for open seating.
- Verify prior to the service if anything normally completed is not going to occur during special services such as Communion or Offering with the Pastor.
Ushering Best Practices:
- Concentrate on the people. Seat the people as near the front pews as it seems appropriate. The back seats can then be filled with latecomers. If people insist on seating in certain places let them be.
- Be alert to available seats and be ready to lead worshipers to the vacant seats. Approach with the phrase “May I show you to a seat?” with a smile. Never usher worshipers to their seats by waving your hands.
- Do not allow worshipers to enter the church sanctuary when prayers are being said from the pulpit. Politely tell them to wait at the entrance until after the prayers are over.
- Humility is key in an usher. Ushers are required to be punctual and time conscious as they are required to be at church far earlier than the rest of the congregation.
- We should always offer to seat people, and while you are doing this, introduce new guests to someone and hopefully thy will offer to come and sit with them. Don’t just offer them a seat but find someone that can sit with.
- Once service begins, ushers need to seat everyone. People come in and look for their friends and wander around and it is horribly distracting. Seat them. Tell them that in order to help cut down on distractions, you want to help them be seated.
- Please ask guests that have children if they would like to see our nursery and take them and introduce them to the nursery staff. Let the decision to leave their children in the nursery be theirs.
- Chew gum in church
- Force a hug when greeting
- Separate families when seating them (if possible)
- Point when seating guests
- Raise your voice at anyone including children
Maintaining a safe environment and maintaining control of a crowd is an important aspect of the ushering duty. Whereas, ushers are not church security, ushers should be observant of the environment and cautiously investigate suspicious behaviors. Using those cellular camera phones to record events and calling the Lawrenceville Police department at 770-963-2443 or 911 as required.
Ushers should insist that adults and kids maintain a proper decorum in and on the church property, including smoking, drinking, and bad behavior.
Ushers should report noteworthy incidents and accidents to the Pastor. Reportable incidents include all injuries, difficult interactions with people, and crimes. Be sure to read and understand the church safety policies and ask if you have any questions.