It’s a good idea every once in a while for pastors and other leaders to “visit” their church as a guest. It’s very easy to get so comfortable at your church that you aren’t aware what newcomers experience. We tend to all have our own friends at church and like to hang around them. But, for at least one Sunday, take a break from your usual routine and look at your church through the eyes of a visitor.
When you visit your church, here’s a few things to take note of.
- Is it clear where to park?
- Who greets you at the door – are they friendly?
- Signage – is your church well marked as to where things are? Of special importance are the sanctuary, restrooms and where they can get a cup of coffee. Many people want a cup of coffee when then first come and they may not want to ask for it. If the person at the door can direct them to where they can get a cup of coffee or tea, it’s a nice touch.
Observe a new visitor that comes to your church. Are they greeted quickly by others? Are they shown around? Are they introduced to the pastor or other leaders? Does anyone invite them to sit with them? These are things that can make a big difference in the impression someone gets when come. Things that might seem small to us can be huge to first-time visitors.
Remember back to a time when you were new at a church. It’s uncomfortable. What things would have made it easier? We want to be welcoming!
Your website also plays a part in helping someone become acclimated to your church. Today, many visit the website before coming to the church, so be sure it includes the information that would be helpful to those who are new. Here’s some things to talk about on a “new visitors page”:
- Children’s Ministry – nursery, Sunday school
- Dress – how do most people come dressed on a Sunday morning?
- Service times and directions to the church
- Worship style
- Service length
- Where to park
- Where they can find out more information
Again, look at the website through a newcomer’s eyes. How easy is it to find out where the church is and how they should dress? Or what is available for their children?
The more you can tell them, the more comfortable they will be when they actually visit.