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February 10, 2019

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends in Christ,

One of the steps in church growth is being prepared to welcome visitors to our congregation. Here are two things to observe and explore together.

Hospitality: Churches claim to be friendly but the truth is that most church members are friendly to the people they already know, but not always to guests. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Do we greet guests with the same intensity and concern before and after the worship service as they do during a formal time of greeting in the worship service. A lack of friendliness before and after the service sends a mixed, if not hypocritical, message to new people.

  • The six most important minutes of a church service, in a visitor’s eyes, are the three minutes before the service and the three minutes after the service, when church members introduce themselves, seeking genuinely to get to know the visitors (not just obtain personal information like the market research data collectors at the mall), offer to answer any questions, introduce them to others who may have a connection (perhaps they live in the same neighborhood, are from the same hometown or state, or their children attend the same school), or any number of ways to demonstrate to the visitors that they as a church member care.

First Impression: We only have one chance to make a good first impression and we have little hope of correcting a bad first impression. Our first-time guests have some simple desires and basic needs. They decide very quickly if you can meet those criteria. The decision to return for a second visit is often made before guests reach your front door.

  • Are you creating the entire experience, beginning with your parking lot?

  • Are you consciously working to remove barriers that make it difficult for guests to find their way around and to feel at home with your people?

  • Do newcomers have all the information they need without having to ask any embarrassing questions?

  • Are your greeters and ushers on the job, attending to details and anticipating needs before they are expressed?

  • Does anything about your guests’ first experience make them say, “Wow!” and want to return?

Our first-time guests will never know what a wonderful congregation Lynnhurst is unless they make a second or third visit. Will they come back? It all depends on the impression we are making.

Blessings on the journey,

Pastor Monica

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