Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests

When I come across an article of interest I want to pass it on to you. I just read an article from Thom Rainer who serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The article is entitle “The Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests.” He admits that he did a twitter poll to ask first-time guests why they chose not to return to a particular church. While not a scientific poll, what he discovered was fascinating.

I am listing his ten reasons to remind us as regular attenders that every once in while it’s good to evaluate things we do in the church through an outsider’s vantage point. Thanks to Thom Rainer for helping us see things through the eyes of guests by providing the following list. My personal comments are in brackets.

1. Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service. This was the most frequent response.

2. Unfriendly church members. [Hopefully, this is not true of us]

3. Unsafe and unclean children’s area. [How do you think we are doing here?]

4. No place to get information. [Have you noticed the “Just Ask” signs? Thanks Julie for overseeing places to get information]

5. Bad church website.

6. Poor signage. We may forget about signs because we know where rooms, bathrooms etc… are. Guests do not.

7. Insider church language. Thom’s favorite example: “The WMU will meet in the CLC in the room where the GA’s usually meet.”

8. Boring or bad service. Thom Rainer was surprised that this was not ranked higher.

9. Members telling guests that they were in their seats. [Please assure me that no one at First Free has ever done this.]

10. Dirty facilities. Comments were: “No trash cans.” “Restrooms were worse than a bad truck stop.” “Pews had more stains than a Tide commercial.”

If you have any additions or insights, let me know.

P.S. You come to a fork in the road, do you go to the left or right? One road is expedient! The other road is costly. Which one should you take? Sunday’s message at the 9:00 and 10:30 worship services will provide guidance to these questions in our Bittersweet: The Story of Ruth series. 

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