I recently looked at my file of church guest "exit interviews." These files originated when I did a lot of church consulting, but it also includes some recent consults.
In essence, my team asked guests to attend a worship service on the same day to get their immediate impressions of the church. Among those who had a positive experience, we heard a pattern of recurring themes. Here are the top 10 responses in order of frequency. Each item is followed by a direct quote from a guest:
1. People introduced themselves to the guests. "Several people introduced themselves to me. I did not get the impression it was either contrived or routine."
2. Someone asked the guest to sit with her. "You know, as a single person, I can feel pretty lonely sitting by myself. I am so glad Joanie asked me to sit with her. We plan to get together for coffee."
3. There was clear signage. "From the parking lot to the children's area to the worship center, everything was clearly marked. It was sure easy to get around."
4. There was a clearly marked welcome center. "It made it real easy for me to ask questions and to get some information on the church."
5. The kids loved the children's area. "My kids were so happy with their experiences. We will be back for sure."
6. The children's area was secure and sanitary. "That is one of the first things I check when I go to a church. This church gets an A+!"
7. Guest parking was clearly visible. "From the moment we drove on the parking lot, I could find the guest parking. It was marked very well."
8. The church did not have a stand and greet time. "My wife and I just moved to the area and are visiting churches. If we visit one with that fake stand and greet time, we don't return."
9. The members were not pushy. "They seemed to really care about us rather than just making us another number on the membership roll."
10. The guest card was simple to complete. "Some of the cards in other churches ask for too much information. This one was perfect and simple."
A happy guest will likely be a returning guest. A returning guest is more likely to become a part of the church.
How does your church treat its guests? Let me hear from you.
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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