Browse
Are Your Sunday Services Guest-Friendly?

Are Your Sunday Services Guest-Friendly?

Posted February 13, 2018 by Bryan Haley

Many churches want to do a better job of attracting guests and helping them get involved in the life of the church. More churches struggle with how to do that. And very few do that well. Part of the reason is that we don’t think about our guests first. Instead, our guests are an afterthought.
 

What it means to think about guests first

So you want to start doing a better job of attracting and welcoming first-time guests. Awesome. But what does that actually mean? To be simple: your first thought needs to be the guest. In every aspect of your ministry, you need to think through the details. What does your guest need to know? What do they need explained? You’re not dumbing it down; you’re being purposeful and clear in your communication.
 

Thinking Guests First at the Building

When you arrive at the church building this week, put yourself in the mindset of a first-time visitor. From the road, is it clear where your church is located? How about the parking lot? Is it clear where to go? Without being over-the-top, are your guests being welcomed as they enter the property and building? Think about the things guests need to know. Think about how they find out where to go, or how they find the information and directions they need.
 

Considering Guests Before the Service

I hear a lot of churches that pride themselves on being a “welcoming” or “loving” congregation. Do your first-time guests feel that way about your church? While unintentional, we sometimes close ourselves off to first-time visitors. We use the time before service starts to catch up with friends that we haven’t seen in a few days. Use these pivotal moments before the service begins to communicate with your guests. By the time the service starts, your guests will have already decided if they’re going to make a return visit or not. So take every opportunity to communicate your church’s mission. Make it easy for your guests to get needed information—where kids go, where the auditorium is, the location of restrooms, and even meet some people. A greeter at the door is a great thing. But that only welcomes them into the building. Make sure your church is paying attention to the guests once they get inside the building, too.
 

Guest-First Thinking During the Service

While you don’t want your guests to feel uncomfortable, you want to do your best to welcome them into the fold. Explain what each section of the service is, why it’s important, and how they can take part. Encourage one simple next step for your guest to take, and repeat that throughout the service. Bonus points: Having to explain what you’re doing and why is a great reminder for your regular congregation. It also helps you think critically about why you do what you do.
 

It’s easy to get stuck in the mundane, trapped in the regular flow. Take time this week to stop and think about what your guests are experiencing as they arrive on Sunday and take part in your worship services.

Filed under: Branding, Visitor's Perspective

About the Author

Bryan Haley

Bryan joined the ReFrame Media team in 2017 with a passion to help churches reach people with the gospel using effective church communications. As producer for Church Juice, Bryan helps congregations energize their church communications by overseeing the Church Juice blog, publishing in-depth ebook resources, and developing training on topics like marketing, branding, social media, internal communications, and website development.

Bryan brings years of communication and outreach experience gained both in full-time church ministry and the field of church website design. Bryan and his wife, Denae, enjoy Michigan summers, Detroit sports, and family time.

Don't miss a post

Join our email list

Comments (0)

Leave a Comment

Share your thoughts about this blog post with us.
All fields are required.

Recent Posts

Sharing Church Photos Online
Sharing Church Photos Online
5

Posted October 11, 2018 by Bryan Haley

Sharing images and video of events is a great way to share stories and celebrate what's happening in your church. But that also means we need to talk about privacy, expectations, and good practices.
The Real Mission of Big Events
The Real Mission of Big Events
0

Posted October 9, 2018 by Jeanette Yates

We want our church to be missional. What if our big attractional church event is actually vital to the mission?
How to Use Social Media for Outreach Events
How to Use Social Media for Outreach Events
1

Posted October 4, 2018 by Jordan Gorveatte

Social media and the internet mean there are ways to draw people into your church’s events that are relatively easy and extremely cost-effective. As we discuss how to use social media to draw people in for these events, we’ll identify three steps: inform, compel, and invite.
Planning Your Fall Outreach: Think Follow-Up First
Planning Your Fall Outreach: Think Follow-Up First
0

Posted October 2, 2018 by Bryan Haley

We put a lot of time into our fall outreach events, bringing new families to our church. But what happens after the event is over is just as important as the lead-up to the event.
Where Do You Struggle?
Where Do You Struggle?
0

Posted October 1, 2018 by Bryan Haley

To start out the last quarter of 2018, we're asking you 5 quick questions.
5 Things We Do That Fail at Welcoming a Guest Back to Our Church
5 Things We Do That Fail at Welcoming a Guest Back to Our Church
0

Posted September 24, 2018 by Jonathan Malm

There are five main things most churches assume they need to do to get guests to return. They seem like the right ideas, but there’s often one thing missing.
5 Ways to Follow-Up Digitally
5 Ways to Follow-Up Digitally
0

Posted September 18, 2018 by Owen Scott

We work hard to follow up after major holidays in person, but it's a struggle to follow up digitally. Here are five strategies you can use to follow up with people who have engaged with you digitally.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (To Visit a Church)
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (To Visit a Church)
0

Posted September 13, 2018 by Dave Hartwell

Sometimes the best way to understand our own church context is to see how things are done in another. This article describes how I went about creating a rubric for one of my most beneficial tasks as a church communicator: visiting other churches.
Here’s How to Get More Guests to Turn in the Connection Card
Here’s How to Get More Guests to Turn in the Connection Card
1

Posted September 11, 2018 by Bryan Haley

A lot of churches struggle with getting guests to turn in their connection card (or whatever it’s called at your church). Here’s why people aren’t giving you their information, and how to remedy the issue.
Your Website is Your First Impression
Your Website is Your First Impression
1

Posted September 6, 2018 by Owen Scott

Your website is your first point of contact with first time guests. Just like your church building, you need to think about the first impression your church website is making to newcomers.