As we approach Easter Sunday, most churches will see their largest attendance all year. While we, as church members, might not be that aware of the first impression our church is giving to first time visitors, but our guest certainly are. As I began to ponder what my church in particular is doing to make first time guest feel welcome I ran across these wonderful and thought provoking questions, from Chuck Lawless, that are perfect for us all to consider as we approach Easter Sunday.
Review the available means to determine the location of the church and times for the church services:
1. Does your church have a website? If the church has no website, how would you learn about the church?
2. If your church has a website, is it helpful? User-friendly? Does it provide the information you need to get to the church on time?
3. What conclusions do you reach about the church based on its website? Does the website make youwant to attend your church?
Having driven to the church and entering the parking lot, consider these questions:
1. Was it difficult to find the building? Would a person naturally drive by this building, or must you be intentionally going to this building to find it?
2. Based upon your first view of the buildings, what is your impression of the church?
3. Is there a church sign? If so, is it helpful?
4. Is guest parking available? If so, how is it marked? Are there signs directing you to any guest parking?
5. Are there greeters in the parking lot?
6. Is the parking lot adequate? Convenient to the main entrance?
7. Is there a convenient passenger loading/unloading area? Is it covered for use in inclement weather?
8. Is it easy to locate the main entrance? Do you immediately know where to go to enter for church services?
As you enter the church, consider these questions:
1. Are there greeters at the door?
2. What are your first impressions of the entry foyer? Is it inviting and warm? Is it cluttered?
3. Is there a clearly marked, manned guest/welcome center?
4. Is there adequate space in the foyer for people to talk and fellowship?
5. Are there adequate signs to help you find your way throughout the building?
6. Does anyone other than assigned greeters speak to you?
If you attend an on-campus small group, think about these questions:
1. Are there greeters who help you get to the appropriate classroom?
2. What is your first reaction to the education areas?
3. Are there room identification signs?
4. If you have children, is there a security/identification process in place to help identify your child/children?
5. Do the classroom leaders secure needed information from you (e.g., name, address, allergies for children, your location in the building if needed in an emergency)?
6. Do preschool and children’s rooms communicate a sense of security and warmth?
7. After attending a small group, rate the experience on the basis of:
- quality of the teaching, including attention to the Word
- friendliness of the group
- preparedness of the group (that is, were they ready to welcome and include a guest?)
8. Would an unchurched person understand the teaching? the terms used?
9. Would you attend a small group at this church again?
In the worship center, consider these questions:
1. What are your first feelings and thoughts as you enter? Why?
2. Does the worship space say anything to you about this congregation and its priorities?
3. Is the worship space well maintained? clean?
4. Does anyone greet you any time other than a recognized “greeting” time?
5. If the church provides any documents (e.g., bulletin, worship guide, etc.), are the documents high quality? Do they facilitate worship for you in any way?
6. Rate the overall experience on the basis of:
- friendliness of the congregation
- quality of the music
- quality of the preaching, including clear attention to the Scriptures
- clarity in instruction – did you know and understand what the church expected participants to do at all points in the service?
- use of PowerPoint or other media to make announcements, outline sermon, etc.
7. Would an unchurched person understand the teaching? the terms used?
8. What one improvement would you suggest regarding the worship service?
9. Do others greet you as you leave the building?
1. What are your overall impressions of this church based on this visit?
2. Would you return to visit this church? Why or why not?
We might not be able to address all of these before the next time a guest steps foot in our church’s, but even the slightest change can make guest feel welcome, wanted and loved, as the actions of the body of Christ work in cohesion with the word of God and make a guest want to continue coming because they are experiencing the love of Christ in its purist form!
So, this Easter and every other Sunday after that, challenge yourself with these questions that every visitor is consciously asking themselves when they step foot inside your church home. Hopefully, by addressing these questions our church home will begin to feel like their church home as well.
May we all remember that Christ intention for the church was to be a hospital for the sick (sinners), not a country club only for those who want to appear perfect.
My prayer is that we would all be the hands and feet of Christ every Sunday as guest enter our church digging and searching for answers in their life.
To God Be The Glory,