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Church Visits From Hell


Remember on Sunday mornings you should be preparing for company!  People who are new to your church are bound to find their way into your Sunday worship service and therefore you should always be aware and conscientious on how your church, facilities, and experience looks and is perceived by first time guests.

Thom Rainer shares these worst guest experiences gathered from his years of consulting churches and doing on-site "mystery-shopping" evaluations.  Here are some of the worst of the worst:

I was asked to introduce myself in the worship service. There were probably 150 or so present, so all the members knew I was a guest. I had no choice but to speak up and tell them something about me. I felt so uncomfortable standing up and speaking to everyone present.”

I had to walk fifty yards in the rain. There was no guest parking. No one offered me an umbrella. Apparently the members got there early so they could get the best parking spaces in the inclement weather.”

The preschool area was dirty and not secure. I took my two-year old with me, but I would not leave her in the church’s preschool area. You could tell they didn’t care about the cleanliness and the safety needs of little children. So I took my child to the worship service. That proved to be another headache.”

Everyone talked in code. I had no idea what the preacher and the members were talking about. What in the heck is a WMU? What is a time of intercessory prayer? I figured out the responsive reading thing when I saw people reading from their hymnals.”

Someone told me I was sitting where their family sits. That really ticked me off. I didn’t see a reserved sign there. If I was not getting paid to do this, I would have said a few words to them and walked out of the service before it ever began.”

No one spoke to me. They certainly spoke to people they apparently knew, but I was not a part of their cliques. I felt badly just being there. I wanted to get up and leave on the spot.”

The preacher screamed the whole time. He had one tone and one volume: loud! Why do these preachers think their voices and their decibels have to change when they begin preaching? It seems so inauthentic. To top it off, I had a terrible headache after enduring 45 minutes of his screaming.”

They had a business meeting during the worship service. Now that was awkward. I really got uncomfortable when some of the members began disagreeing. It was tense. I will never, ever, ever go back there again.”

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