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Outreach
My friend Greg Atkinson recently wrote an article highlighting 8 reasons people aren’t coming back to your church.  Here are the reasons.  Go read his thoughts, then come back and let’s discuss… The Front Door Before a guest ever steps foot on your church’s physical campus, he or she has probably already checked out your church website. What every church should have clearly visible on their homepage is a section or button for first-time guests. What Stinks? It’s important that no church ever underestimates the sense of smell. While sight is the strongest sense for short term memory, the sense of smell is the strongest and most vivid for long-term memories. I Park Here One of Tim Stevens’ three “growth lids” that he thinks every growing church should have someone who is constantly watching is parking. Tim says, “This is why Visitor Parking is so crucial. If it’s difficult for newcomers to go to your church, they won’t go.” This Way Parents One way to assure guests will not return is to have a confusing, long or hard to find process for getting their kids registered and in the right classroom. Wise churches have signs for first-time guest kids’ check-in and make the process quick and painless. Give It Away Something subtle, but powerful is a church that has a generous spirit. Chris Hodges at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL is big on this. They have a coffee shop, but they also have a designated area where people can get free coffee and not pay anything. Security Counts One issue that is huge to a secret shopper and visiting families is security. If a parent is worried about their child’s safety, they will not enjoy the service and will likely not return. A children’s classroom must be clean, safe and secure. Security also includes the check-out process. If anyone can walk into a classroom and pick up a kid, you’re asking for trouble and will turn off potential newcomers. The Visible Pastor Accessibility of the senior pastor is another subtle and powerful statement of a church. Even pastors of the largest churches in America make an intentional and strategic effort to be seen, greeted and hugged after a service. They may have a body guard present for security reasons, but they are available and willing to pray with people that need to speak to their pastor. Finish Strong It’s simply not enough for greeters and parking lot attendants to say “Hello” or “Welcome” when one walks into their church. To go to another level, have your first impressions team stationed at their posts when the service ends to say “Goodbye” or “Have a nice week”. Read more of Greg’s thoughts here…  It’s In the Details: 8 Surprising Reasons Why People Aren’t Coming Back | Greg Atkinson. What do YOU think?  How are you doing on these 8 things?  And in YOUR experience, what has kept people from coming back to YOUR church?
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Leadership
How should your church treat visitors? Mentanna Campbell recently penned “An Open Letter to American Churches” in which she gives some thoughts: 1. A staffed welcome center 2. No cheesy gifts (including Starbucks cards) 3. Do talk to me. 4. A good website with clear instructions 5. No visitor’s card. These are just some of her thoughts. You can read more here… How do you treat your visitors?  Do you specifically design any experience (parking lot, welcome center, worship service) with visitors in mind? What do you think of Mentanna’s thoughts? I, for one, will never turn down a Starbucks card (and I don’t even like coffee). Love to hear your thoughts… Todd [facebook]
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