In many denominations of the Christian Church, a Church usher (not to be confused with church greeter) is responsible for seating guests and maintaining the order and security of services. The role of a church usher is typically a volunteer position, and in the past was often considered one of honor, particularly if a church committee selects an usher by nomination.
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) (1 Chronicles 9:17-27) (Psalms 84:10)
Jesus' disciples could 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
- Cleaned up after a service, such as the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
Churches often have a group of people that work as ushers led by a head usher. The ushers typically receive their instructions from the head usher. The head usher receives instructions directly from the pastor and is responsible for training and scheduling ushers.
The church usher has various duties. Depending on the church's denomination, size, and preferences, ushers may perform some or all of the following:
- Seat guests
- Collect the tithes and offering
- Distribute communion
- Keep order at the entrance of the sanctuary
- Distribute bulletins and service programs
- Provide security
- Administer emergency procedures
- Handle disturbances
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