Churches Should

Church leaders should expect newcomers at all worship services, and plan accordingly.  Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared a list of helpful hints reflecting on his visits to a number of churches over the last seven months.    He recommends congregations: have plentiful signage on the outside and inside, offer user-friendly websites, and help newcomers easily locate parking and restrooms. So What? Rainer's recommendations are ones that Read More …

Before Visiting a New Church

Before visiting a new church, most people seek some basic information online. Evan Courtney, Family Life Pastor and Communications Director at The Fields Church, provides the following list of website must haves for would be first-timer guests: What does the pastor look like? What size of church is it? What do I wear? What happens in a service? Will I be asked to give money? What do my kids do? How do I get to your church? So What? Most first impressions are virtual. Read More …

Church Size & First Time Guests

Faith Perceptions recently released the latest edition of their church index, which provides insight into the experiences of first time guests.  More specifically, the findings are based on 1,152 separate and unique church services attended by the company's mystery guests (think mystery shoppers for church attendance) between early 2008 and June 1, 2012.  The overall results for each church size are shown below (p.6). So What? Large churches (those with average weekly worship attendance Read More …

Learning from Other Congregations

Warren Bird, Research Director for Leadership Network and co-author of 24 books on various aspects of church health and innovation, blogged about the feedback he received from a recent focus group of pastors who shared their "great ideas for great churches," which include: Gifts for first-time newcomers Partnering with the local YMCA Shaping the Culture of the City Intentionally Multi-Ethnic Churches Citywide Youth Group Planting Churches to Reach People Like You So Read More …

Truly Welcoming Visitors on Easter

In almost every congregation, Easter is the most attended Sunday morning of the year.  Many congregations feature additional services to provide these religious consumers with the greatest number of options possible and to ensure that there is room (especially parking and seating) for everyone.  Most parishes seek to do what they can to ensure visitors have a positive experience and are likely to visit again.  Toward that end, I suggest: Providing an extravagant welcome is not something that Read More …

Preparing Visitors for Communion

Preparing Visitors for Communion/Eucharist/Lord’s Supper   Most congregations celebrate Communion/Eucharist/Lord’s Supper in their corporate worship services on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, once a quarter, etc.).  While those who attend regularly know what to expect, newcomers do not.  As guests are seated and begin to prepare for worship they may note the elements and wonder: Is everyone welcome at the table or only those with certain beliefs or membership?  Should my children Read More …