A regular here sent me a link to a list of Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests.

Here they are:

  • Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service.
  • Unfriendly church members. (church members faking it)
  • Unsafe and unclean children’s area.
  • No place to get information.
  • Bad church website.
  • Poor signage.
  • Insider church language.
  • Boring or bad service.
  • Members telling guests that they were in their seat or pew.
  • Dirty facilities.

From time to time I go to a church where I am not known, or am visiting somewhere and want to go to a service. Very often the website is atrocious! Set up by someone clearly quite some time back, following last-millennium web design and conventions. Or the password has clearly been lost by the parish, and there’s nothing new for the last three years! It is not possible to find the service times. Or the location of the church. And then there’s the experience of getting all that information only to arrive and find that for that particular Sunday the service time or location has been changed!

Use WordPress to run your site. Keep it simple. Keep in mind visitors looking for key information. And with WordPress the pastor can change things instantly – when the Sunday services are over, the next Sunday’s information should be up. Do it Sunday night.

The same goes for church signs.

There should be people in your community who notice when someone is new and can approach them appropriately without being overly gushy. Also, every community will have someone who would frighten off new people – be aware of such a person in your community, and have ways of keeping new people safe. Too often I have been in a church where people are only greeting those they know, and at refreshments I, as the visitor, needed to take the initiative to talk to people.

What do you think of the above list?
What would you add to the list?

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