Church Welcome Material [Juice on the Loose]Posted May 12th 2011 @ 1:50 pm by Jerod
My wife and I recently tagged along with my in-laws to a Sunday service at a popular church in the south suburbs of Chicago. As I was drinking my free coffee (major bonus points) and walking around the building, my wife pointed out something she saw all around the church: information kiosks. While it’s not uncommon to see racks of brochures about programs in a church, it was clear to me that this church had made a conscious decision to have them in multiple places. Clearly, these kiosks were part of the church's plan to get information into the hands of visitors without them feeling confronted. If someone did want some face time, there was a nice welcome center where someone could go and get more information.
I think it’s a struggle for many churches to find the right strategy for providing visitors with information. You don’t want to ignore people, but it’s not good to bombard them either. All visitors have different wants. Some want to be approached. Others want to sneak in and out without feeling like they have to fill out a welcome card. With that in mind, I made a list of the pros and cons of this church's kiosk-based approach.
- Information is readily available. There is more than one door to the church and sanctuary, and kiosks are placed where people come in.
- It’s a low pressure way to find out more about the church. Some people just want to get in and get out without being noticed. Without the kiosks, these folks may never learn how to eventually plug into the church in a more meaningful way.
- It shows the church cares more about helping and equipping visitors than tracking them.
- Impersonal. Should an actual person be standing near the kiosks to answer questions or to give a personal greeting? Does that defeat the purpose?
- Self-serve kiosks allows people to circumvent the church's assimilation process.
- The kiosks need updating and restocking on a regular basis. And that uses a lot of paper. In general, we favor less paper and more digital.
- The kiosks are difficult to see when the building is full of people. They take up space, too. So when it’s crowded, they sort of get in the way.
- Even if all of your materials are well designed and match perfectly, racks of brochures often look messy.
So this list ended up with more cons than pros. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea. I’ve always said that churches know their own congregation best. This kiosk-based system may make perfect sense for this church.
Are there pros or cons you’d add to the list? How does your church provide visitors with information?
(Juice on the Loose is a feature where we visit a church and share what we learn from the communication stuff they’re doing. To read other posts in the series, click here.)