Visitorscan form first impressions of congregations before they darken church doors. The question is, how can your church make the best possible impression as God’s people?
Churches can regularly pray for future guests and visitors.
In the spirit of James 4:2, churches may lack guests because they fail to ask God for visitors. It is important to pray at least weekly for God to send guests and visitors. It is just as important to pray for people that members are inviting to fellowship activities, service opportunities or worship services.
These petitions can be offered weekly in worship. Members can include these petitions in their daily prayers. Some churches have special times when members gather for prayer, including such petitions in their prayers.
I’ve served a church where we prayed in worship weekly for neighbors who were building homes in subdivisions surrounding the church. We would ask God to keep the construction workers safe, give the family a smooth transition into their new home and help children quickly fit into new schools. Members enjoyed meeting neighbors for the first time and saying, “Our church has been praying for you.”
Congregations can welcome guests through church website.
Today, a majority of guests will look at a church website before visiting the church. Note: They are looking for the congregation’s website, not the church’s Facebook page. Websites are best for guests; Face pages are best for members.
Churches need on their websites a specific tab for first-time visitors. On this page they should answer the questions most visitors want answered. For example, guests want to know what is the “dress code” of your church. They are curious about what programs are offered. They want information about parking.
In fact, this post was inspired by the webmaster from our home church. He mentioned he was surprised at the traffic on the “First Time Guest” on our church’s website. Some months it is the most visited page on the website.
Congregations make a first impression from the parking lot.
It is wise for church leaders to appreciate the courage it takes for first-time guests to visit a church. It is not unheard-of for people to drive past a church a handful of times on Sunday mornings before deciding to actually attend a service.
This is why outside signage is vital for churches. Guests need to know where it is appropriate to park their vehicles. They want to know if they should avoid certain areas of the church, especially if there is a preschool. They want to know where to enter the church. Keep in mind, the entrances are often different from Bible classes than for Zumba or Jazzercise than for worship.
I was painfully reminded of this last year. Three different times, when attending worship for the first time, I walked to imposing wooden front doors of churches. Only, the front doors were locked. There was no signage showing where I was supposed to enter the church for worship. There is nothing quite like walking around a church, pulling on all the doors, praying the next one is unlocked.
How does your church prepare for guests and visitors before they darken the door of church? Leave your experience in the comments or shoot me an email.
2 thoughts on “Unexpected Ways Churches Make First Impressions”
Great article! I visit many churches and tend to look at their websites before I visit. The orientation of signs is one that bugs me a lot. Most are stuck to walls or doors but if I am looking down a hallway I have no clue what is down that hall. Greeters are great, but a manned information kiosk is spectacular! How about training people to sit next to people they think may be visitors and introducing them selves and offering to help them through the service?
Besides dress code, parking, and child care, what other information should be made front and center for websites?