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Is Your Church Calling "Visitors" By The Wrong Name?

This is an excerpt from a great post over at Godvertiser

Throughout the post, Kenny addresses the problems and pitfalls of identifying our guests as "first time" and discusses the real issue on why guests (if in fact they do) come back for another visit.

Here is an excerpt:

Certain questions were asked to those who made "first time visits to church". Some of the answers give you a clue as to how they want to be treated. . .
  • 11 percent said they would be willing to identify themselves as a visitor when visiting a church for the first time
  • 63 percent said they would prefer to wait until at least the second visit to let anyone know they are visiting
  • 26 percent of formerly churched adults said they desire to slip in and casually introduce themselves after the service.
The fact is that for most churches, 90% of first timers that don’t return.

"So aren’t we calling this group by the wrong name? Aren’t these First-Time ONE-TIME Guests, not first-time guests?"

With all of the assimilation strategy attempts (ie. free gifts/visits/thank you notes) to try to get those guests to come back for a second visit, what really in the end prompts a person to return?

If you look at 15 reasons why people won’t return a second time to your church, none of these are solved by giving stuff away or claiming rewards for showing up:
  1. No welcome from the parking lot to the pews.
  2. Finding the right door to sanctuary appeared difficult.
  3. People in the pews held on to their “good seats.”
  4. Too many “churchy insider words” like doxology and introit throughout the worship experience.
  5. No safe, clean nursery for the babies and toddlers.
  6. No sincere greeting extended by pastors or members.
  7. No warmth or hospitality extended.
  8. Missing joy and a spiritual atmosphere.
  9. No sense of family in the church community.
  10. Very limited reaching out to outsiders or strangers.
  11. Very few ministries or activities for youth or children.
  12. Public recognition of guests that left them feeling uncomfortable.
  13. Appears to be no vision or purpose for the congregation.
  14. On Sunday morning, members and ushers seem focused on “member only” conversations.
  15. No one invited them back.
According to Kenny, the key isn't the strategy or gimmicks, rather it is the culture that is created on Sunday morning and whether or not the church is "outward" focused. And this responsibility goes well beyond the pastor and staff - but it becomes the responsibility of the entire congregation.

Make sure you read the entire post HERE



Great reminders here. We have taken this seriously in our 4 year old plant, but I see holes here in our system too!

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