A church usher is a person who helps ensure a smoothly running church service and who ministers to people in a variety of practical ways. The specific responsibilities of an usher vary with the church, but his duties usually include greeting people as they arrive for the service, assisting people with special needs, and collecting the offering. Some churches provide a pin or name tag of some kind to easily identify their ushers.
Before the church service starts, the ushers will often have the responsibility to check the thermostat, check the restrooms, make sure the hymnals are placed correctly, and prepare the bulletins for distribution. As the churchgoers arrive, the ushers will act as doorkeepers, greeting each person with a smile, shaking hands, and handing out bulletins. They are also available to answer visitors’ questions and extend extra help in seating those who need the assistance. Often, the ushers will escort people to the proper nursery or Sunday school classroom, especially if the church building is a large one.
During the church service, the ushers usually take part in some way. They are responsible to take up the church offering and make sure it is put in the proper place. In some churches, ushers also help with the Lord’s Table. Ushers have a goal of minimizing distractions during the music and sermon. Ushers stand ready to assist anyone in the congregation who might need help, to aid latecomers in finding a seat, and to inform those in the sanctuary of any urgent matters. Some churches appoint an usher or two to monitor the facility, including the parking lot, to prevent vandalism, theft, or other wrongdoing.
Church ushers are well versed in emergency procedures. In case of an emergency, the ushers will take the lead in getting people to safety in an orderly manner.
After the service, ushers will again be at the door to greet the congregation as they leave and provide assistance as needed. In many churches, the ushers will then make sure that the sanctuary is tidy, the thermostat is adjusted, and the lights are shut off.
Although the position of “usher” is not mentioned in the Bible, ushers today provide an invaluable service to the local church body. In many ways, the ushers are the “face” of the church, the first ones that people see when they arrive and the last ones they see as they leave. It is important that an usher be friendly, honest, and willing to serve. It is an honorable position in the church, requiring integrity, cordiality, and wisdom.
The heart of an usher is the heart of a servant, and he does his work for his Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:24). A church usher has a true love for the people of the church and a desire to promote an atmosphere of reverence and worship in the house of God. An usher’s theme verse could very well be Psalm 84:10, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”