I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s post is from a bestselling author and my boss, Thom S. Rainer, whose book, Becoming a Welcoming Church, launched on March 1. Lots of things can go wrong when you welcome people to your church. Watch, read, and enjoy.
Most church members have forgotten what it’s like to be a first-time guest. They now have established relationships in the church. They love their church. Their biases tell them their church is great. But many church members and leaders are wrong. When we asked hundreds of guests about their experiences visiting churches, it was not a pretty picture. We asked specifically why they did not return to a particular church. Here were their top ten responses:
1. The stand-and-greet time in the worship service was unfriendly and awkward. Some guests saw it as only a ritual for the members while others felt totally ignored or inundated with superficial greetings.
2. Unfriendly church members. Most church members don’t usually speak to guests because they don’t know them and instead retreat to the comfort of the holy huddles of the people they do know.
3. Unsafe and unclean children’s areas. If your church does not have clear safety and security procedures, and if the children’s area is not clean and sanitary, young families will not return to your church.
4. No place to get information on the church. Guests are trained to look for a central welcome and information center, however, some churches didn’t have one or it was hidden or unmanned.
5. Bad church websites. The two critical items guests want to see on a church website are the physical address of the church and times of the services.
6. Poor signage. Guests get frustrated when they don’t have clear directional signage for parking, the worship center, the children’s area, and others.
7. Insider church language. Listen carefully to the words and conversations in the worship service. See if members say things that a first-time guest would not understand.
8. Boring or bad church services. In the digital age, with so many affordable resources, no church is allowed that excuse.
9. Members telling guests they were in the wrong pew or chair. In fact the most common comment was, “You are sitting in my pew.”
10. Dirty facilities. A dirty church communicates to the guest, “We really don’t care.”
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, for your chance to win 1 of 10 copies of Thom Rainer’s new book, Becoming a Welcoming Church.