What Are the Duties of the Church Usher?

Written by elle smith
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What Are the Duties of the Church Usher?
Church ushers are critical worship team members. (church spire and tower on old church image by thomas owen from Fotolia.com)

Ushers play an important role in the worship service at most churches. It takes a special gift to be a welcoming presence in the church. Church ushers, like most of the opportunities of service in the church, are volunteers. They typically stand throughout the worship service at the doors, by the pews or close to the altar, ready to be of service. Ushers' tasks are varied and critical to the flow and function of the worship service.

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's why the ministry of ushers is so critical in a welcoming church that expects to grow. Ushers are expected to greet church members with a "Welcome" when they come into the sanctuary. Ushers are usually the first point of contact a newcomer will have on a Sunday morning. If they are met with genuine friendliness and a caring offer of assistance, guests and visitors will likely return. Individuals with the gift of welcome and hospitality are best suited for this service.

Sanctuary Care and Supplies

Church ushers are often asked to share in the duties of sanctuary care. This may involve maintaining supplies and equipment that pertain to the worship area. Pencils, candles, seasonal art, songbooks, pew Bibles and prayer cards that are used by the church members need to be refreshed and replaced. These tasks are done before or after each service.

Receiving the Offerings

The church often relies on offerings and tithes. These gifts are usually collected at a specified time in the worship service. Ushers stand at each row and pass a plate or collection receptacle to the first person in the row. It is then sent down the row to the other side or passed to the row behind. The ushers remove the plates, and the offerings are counted later.

Seating, Directions and Emergencies

Elderly or handicapped church members or families with small children may often need assistance finding a seat, especially if the church sanctuary is large and filled to capacity. If families get separated after classes, ushers can assist in helping them get seated together. Ushers can orient guests to the nursery, rest rooms and other accessible areas of the church. An important function of the usher is to be aware of emergency procedures, and to take the lead in making sure everyone follows an orderly route in an emergency.


Communion, or The Lord's Supper, is celebrated as the participation in and remembrance of the body of Christ. It is an important part of Christian worship. Communion is celebrated with bread and wine or substitutes thereof. The communion meal is distributed by the ushers to the church members in the pews. In other denominations, the ushers will escort and direct congregants to the altar to receive communion from the priest or pastor. Controlling the flow of traffic is important so that the reverence of the service is respected.

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