Question: What are you doing every Sunday to make sure your visitors return?
• Your church cannot grow without visitors.
• Your church cannot be healthy without visitors.
• Your church cannot fulfill the Great Commission without visitors.
• Your church cannot grow if your visitors do not come back.
There is a clear biblical basis for every church being visitor friendly. Wanting to welcome newcomers to our church is more than a misguided attempt at consumer marketing. It is simply following the example set by God, who instructed Israel … “When a stranger resides in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as a native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God” (Lev.19:34).
The reason God required Israel to welcome strangers was the nations experience in Egypt. “You shall not oppress a stranger since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you were also strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod. 23:9). Jesus modeled the welcoming nature of God by accepting sinners (Luke 15:1-2). The early followers of Christ embraced this as well. “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house and received (welcomed) all that came unto him” (Acts 28:30).
As God’s people we are to be welcomers as God is a welcoming God. Israel remembered when they were captives in Egypt. We must remember when we were captives in sin and someone welcomed us to church and God.
How to be a great host
1. See what guests see
• On the outside. Researchers say that church guests decide whether or not to return to the church they are visiting in the first 10 to 12 minutes upon entering the church campus.
• On the inside. Are there clear directions to the sanctuary? To the nursery? To the restrooms?
2. Ask what guests ask
• Is there room for me on the property? Do you have enough parking?
• Is there room for me personally? Anyone there like me? My age group? Life stage?
• Is there room for me relationally? People want a friendly church to be sure. Yet, more than that, they want a church where they can make friends.
• Is it worth it? Demands on people’s time today is heavy. Is it worth my time to attend, become involved and serve?
3. Intentionally guesterize your church
“Guesterize” means “to make a church more responsive to its guest and be better able to attract new ones.” This occurs when you make guests the most important people at your church on Sunday morning. Give guests the following:
• The best attitude. Guests can detect immediately the prevailing attitude or tone as they walk up and walk in.
• The best impression. Follow the 10-foot rule: Teach your people, whenever they come within 10 feet of a person they do not know, to smile and say, “Hi.”
• The best parking. Reserve at least 5 percent of your parking for guests as close to the main entrance as possible.
• The best seats. The most popular seat on an airplane is the aisle seat. Guests prefer them as well. Encourage regular attenders to sit in the middle of long rows.
• The best time. Follow the 5-minute rule following each worship service. Members and regular attenders are not to do any church business or talk to any friends until 5 minutes has passed. Give the first 5 minutes to meeting and greeting those they do not know.
A basic premise to remember:
Your message is not your sermon; your message is your service!
BY GARY TAYLOR, MBC Director of Evangelism