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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.)

Comments (3)

I WOULD DITCH THE SPINNING KIOSKS AND BLAST ALL THE INFORMATION AND CHURCH NEWS ON THE JUMBOTRON IMAX VIDEO SCREEN IN 3D DURING THE INTERMISSIONS.

Jeff Moses 4:05 pm Thu, May 12, 2011

I am struggling with this issue right now. Currently, we have a welcome center that’s stuck in a corner and feels to me completely counter-productive. Our church has struggled with clear communication about what we offer until I started a few months ago. I am considering doing a both/and. Having a sheet for each ministry, as it’s relevant to the visitor, but next to a person (actually 3) who can also engage them in conversation.

Lauren 2:08 pm Tue, May 17, 2011

Speaking from where I am now, I think the idea of having all the information in one place where one would associate as the “place where information is located” is one of the best ideas. This could be an intentional “information center” or welcome desk or just a wall where someone can go pick up info if they need.

I suppose you could put information around the church in various locations, but as mentioned, it requires maintenance, and also suggests a more “business” or “company” mentality. Do we want people to see our local church community as an organization or a church? I understand the idea of using business and leadership ideas/wisdom in leading the people, as well as organizing various ministries and making action plans, but I don’t think the church is a business. The welcome desk or information center may suggest this too, but it still is wise to have information available for people who are looking for it.

That also brings a thought: who are the people who want the information? For the people who are looking for it, they just need to be pointed the right direction. But if we are just putting information in easily accessible places, just in case, for people who might be interested if they see it, but have no real desire to learn about the information, is that being a good steward of our resources and space?

This may also apply for people who don’t want to be noticed and just fly in and out of our local church gatherings. I may be generalizing, but it would seem people who don’t want to be noticed from the start carry that into getting involved in other aspects of the local church. All of this follows the idea that most of the time, only the people who want to know, want to get involved, or are personally connected to the information will want it and be a part of it.

And this means communicating information needs to somehow personally intersect with people. This is why people who have a personal interest in the information seek it out, get involved, and are an active member with which the information is connected. This also explains why other people could care less about the information no matter where we put it. They aren’t personally invested in it and it really has nothing to do with them, so they don’t do anything involved with it.

So if we want people to see it as important (which not everything can be important to everyone), we need to personally connect it to them. If this is involving ministry, God has to work in them, but He can use us in various ways to help people find a desire for ministry. This very often is done through genuine relationships/friendships with people where you may share common interests or as people see what is important to you or vice-versa, they/you will be moved to get involved. God can also use testimonies/stories of the ministry or people who share how the ministries/information impacted them and how God worked through it and it may stir people to learn more and get involved. God can also use interacting ministries to connect people to something they wouldn’t normally do to help them realize what else they care about (small group with evangelism or service projects with homeless ministries, etc.). And Pastors and leaders could get dinner and coffee with individuals and spiritually direct them to where God is leading them. These are just some examples.

After all this, I really think it’s important that we don’t forget what draws people to the information from the start, and put more effort into intentionally connecting people personally with the information we truly believe they need to know instead of only hoping people get it who need it if we put it in accessible places.

Adam Ranck 5:53 am Wed, Jan 11, 2012

Already a member?

If not, take a moment to
register for added benefits

Leave a Comment

Share your thoughts.

(Email Address will not be published)
 
 

Account Login