CHURCH USHERS' MANUAL
By Sylvester Simon Secretary Ushering Unit
Winners Chapel The Gambia
A Handbook for Church Ushers and all others who would like to promote the Spirit of Fellowship in the House of God.
Few forms of Christian service are adorned with loftier privileges or laden with weightier obligations than that of ushering in the Church of Christ. Whosoever is honoured with this office, should immediately declare himself for maximum efficiency.
The usher is the Church's official representative of the host spirit. Aside of Church expressional life, which in too many cases has been neglected, and has resulted to the serious detriment of the Church as a soul-gripping institution. The usher cannot bear the whole burden of friendliness, but it is his privilege to stand in the gap to perform for the Church that which the Church as a whole cannot do for itself. Some men do well in this capacity without special training, but few there be who may do better by giving the matter careful study. This, along with prayer and practice, will work wonders for any one who earnestly desires to be a good host in the house of God.
The purpose of this Manual is to present in brief form some of the principles of ushering and of welcoming strangers at church services. It is little more than suggestive, but if rightly used, may give inspiration to all who are willing to be helped. At least it should aid to a better appreciation of the importance of this work. Let brotherly love continue: be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:1- 2).
1 The very foundation of efficiency in this work lies in having a right mental attitude toward it. Start right by seeing it in its large proportions. Weigh its values. Ponder over its possibilities. Be impressed with its importance. Hold it in high esteem.
2. Think of it primarily as real Christian service. It is Kingdom work. You are working under Divine orders. Take this as your working motto: “I serve the Lord Christ”. As you repeat it to yourself over and over again, the Spirit will direct you as you turn your attention to a guest.
3. Resolve to give it the best that is in you. Measure up to the opportunity, Magnify the office with a whole-hearted service. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men: knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ' ( Col. 3: 24).
4. You are receiving guests in the Church of Christ. It is of utmost importance that Christ has first place in your own heart.
5. Constantly recall that all Christian work is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. He works through human instrumentality. Therefore at the very start, surrender yourself to Him and give Him a chance to work wondrously through you. Mingle prayer with your service. Get on to your knees and actually talk to God about this. Consciously turn your thoughts often to Him while performing your duties. Trust and obey Him and your deeds will count eternally.
THE USHER AS HOST
MEETING THE GUEST, OR THE POINT OF CONTACT:
1. Frequently remind yourself of the fact that the way in which things are done is often more important than the things themselves. This is true of church-ushering.
2. Present a neat personal appearance. First impressions count much. A well groomed host appeals to observant people, while one who is careless in this regard is oft times repellent.
3. An Usher should have confident in himself, showing he knows what he does, please do not mixed up confidence with pride. Ushering service is similar to that of a military formation. Be at alert, communicate and understand signs and signal without distracting the congregation.
HISTORY OF AN USHER
In many denominations of the Christian Church, a '''Church usher''' is the first official representative seen when entering the church. The role of the usher in church is a volunteer position, and is often considered one of honor, particularly if the church or a church committee member selects an usher by nomination. As seen in ACTS 6:1-6
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples were multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
== ANCIENT ==
The concept of an Usher is not new. In the Old Testament, there were positions addressed as "Doorkeepers" or "Gatekeepers", and their roles were very similar. (2 Kings 22:4) Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: (1 Chronicles 9:17-27) 17 And the porters were , Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief;
18 Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi.
19 And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry.
20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him.
21 And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.
23 So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely , the house of the tabernacle, by wards.
24 In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.
25 And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them.
26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them. (Psalms 84:10) For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
*Jesus' Twelve Disciples can be considered ushers, in the sense that they:
**Prepared the way for Jesus.
**Kept order among those listening to Christ.
**Served food to the audience.
**Cleaning up after a service, such as the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
== IN MODERN TIMES ==
In modern times, the church usher has many duties. Depending on the church's denomination, size, and preferences, ushers may perform all, some, or a few of the following.
* Greet people entering the service
* Seat attendees (varies by denomination, some churches seat themselves)
* Collect the tithes and offering
* Keeps order at the entrance
* Cleans and prepare the Church (varies by denomination)
* Count people in service
* Distributing and collecting surveys (such as flyers, hand bills or visitor pamphlets)
* Distribute bulletins and service programmes
* Prepare the altar for service.
KNOWING MORE OF THE USHER’S JOB:
* Ushers are Gate Keepers
* Ushers are Presenters / Preventer
* Ushers are Watchmen
* Ushers are Image Makers
* Ushers should always be in uniform & of good conduct
* Ushers are like receptionist.
* Ushers eyes should always be open, even while the church is praying
* Ushers should always be cheerful and ready to assist.
· Ushers should always be at the lookout for distress person(s)
· Ushers communicate at any given service with God, Pastorate and the Congregation at the same time. They stand in the gap between these three.
· Ushers should always remember that they could never over serve God, and should expect no thank you from anyone. Your spirit will affirm to you when you have done well, and when you have failed.
Ushers are required to be punctual and time conscious as they are required to be in the church far earlier than the rest of the congregation. Since they are part of the service, they need to meet early in order to pray with the Pastors or other church workers. Adequate spiritual preparation by the usher ensures a service full of the presence of God.
The following behaviours are among those deemed inappropriate while ushering.
* Dress inappropriately (e.g. tight or short clothing, immodest apparel)
* Force a hug when greeting
* Separate families when seating them
* Beckon incoming person with a finger or two (it’s a sign of command, belittle, or command. Beckon with your palm or all of your fingers together).
== CHRISTIAN LIVING ==
Ushers, as the ones who stand at the door, greet, and distribute pamphlets, can be considered an ambassador for the church, and a key part in the Body of Christ. The role is supposed to continue long after the church has adjourned. The life of an usher should be an example of Christian living, Evangelism. Daily conduct should be in line with the word of the Christian God, the Bible, and the Ministry of Jesus.
From the diagram above, we could see how important an usher is and how important it’s for an usher to be in spirit at all time during service. There is a two way communication between him and God, between him and the pastorate, and between him and the congregation. Wishing you happy service to God and humanity.
Copyright Sylvester Simon
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