ACTIVE Faith has created a free downloadable checklist for reaching and keeping church visitors. It’s full of pragmatic advice for eliminating confusion and helping your guests quickly know the ins and outs of your church. Most importantly, it offers great steps to ensure your guests are engaged and welcomed in a friendly way.
Tools like this are incredibly valuable if you are mindful of a few things.
(1) Checklists like these are designed primarily for affluent, consumeristic cultures.
To clarify, all churches globally need friendliness and to excel at developing genuine relationships. However, not all churches cater to consumeristic cultures. The more affluent and intellectual a culture is, the more they trust in their own strength rather than God. In fact, the wealthier someone is, the more they tend to focus on themselves, their desires, and self-expression according to 2012 research by Paul Piff at UC Berkley. These people need Jesus, too.
This is more about socioeconomics and expectations than it is geography. There are wealthy congregations in Seoul and Nairobi that are prone to consumerism. And there a congregations reaching the working poor in the United States that could care less about what the parking lot looks like and how the nursery smells. The point is you can’t be all things to all people simultaneously, but you can be like Paul and become a servant to the niche culture you’re currently reaching (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
(2) You can’t systematize the work of the Holy Spirit, but you can increase the likelihood that someone will hear the Word of God, which is the source of our faith (Romans 10:17).
You should never dilute the gospel for fear of offense. At the same time, I think it is good within reason to create an environment that attracts people to come and hear. Consumeristic church visitors are looking for external things to meet their spiritual needs. They want church features and an experience that caters to their preferences. It can be a slippery slope that should be prayerfully navigated and only considered a strong foundation of gospel-centered doctrine and a healthy congregation that is pursing Christ.
(3) We fall short in being like Christ. Good ministry tools and resources can help us stay on course.
Outside of an encounter with the gospel, the greatest thing your church can do for visitors is have volunteers and a congregation that overflow with the joy of the Lord, selflessly love, serve well, and make themselves available to go deep relationally. It sounds wonderfully ideal because I think it wonderfully embodies being the hands and feet of Christ. Yet mankind always falls short of Christ’s standard, which is why I am grateful for God’s grace and for tools like this visitors checklist that nudge me in the right direction.
Research by Elmer Towns discovered that in a growing church the likelihood of an individual eventually becoming a part of that church is 15% for 1st time visitors, 38% for 2nd time visitors, and 70% for 3rd time visitors. But this isn’t about catering to first-time guests or third-time guests. It is about, hopefully, nurturing a culture in your church that takes one step closer to selflessly loving and serving the newest and oldest faces in your congregation.
Click here to download your free copy of ACTIVE Faith’s checklist for reaching and keeping church visitors.
Special thanks to ACTIVE Faith for supporting Church Relevance by sponsoring this post.