This past Sunday I took a day of vacation. We had decided to travel as a family but bad weather and school sports changed our plans. As a result we were home on Sunday morning. After some conversation, my wife and I decided to take our family to visit a large Church in our area. After some searching we found a Church of our brotherhood a little over an hour away in Blue Springs Missouri that averages over 1000 people in worship. We agreed that this would be the place for us on Sunday morning to worship the Lord.
I like visiting other Churches a couple of times a year for a few reasons. One, I like to worship the Lord without the pressure of being a preacher. When I attend a smaller Church the people are usually very friendly, but once they find out that I am a preacher the dynamic changes. Sometimes it can turn into a consulting visit rather than worship. Two, I like to see what other churches are doing. I like to hear their music, their preaching and the way they handle everything. I am especially interested in Churches that are reaching lost people and how they reach out through their program. Finally, I like to remember what it is like to be a visitor to a new location. Many of us, myself included, have attended one Church so long we forget what it is like to be new and not know anything about what is going on.
That last concept is the point of today’s blogs. I wrote down several lessons that long time Church attendees need to remember about people visiting their Church.
1. A Great Website is a Must. As I looked at Churches to attend, I quickly made judgments about the Churches based on their website. An old looking or outdated site told me something. At ACC where I serve over 200 people visit our site each week. What judgements are they making?
2. Signage is Crucial. Where do I park? Does it matter? Where do I enter? Where is the worship area? Where are the restrooms? Show me please.
3. People are Powerful. A single person saying hello is scary yet personal. Someone asking if I need help in a friendly manner is inviting. Be open to visitors and help them without being pushy or angry.
4. The PowerPoint Person is the Most Powerful Person in the Church. I used to say that greeters and nursery workers had the greatest impact. Those have slid to number 2 and 3 on my list. Announcements on the screen, a countdown clock, song lyrics, videos, and anything else on the screen is controlled by one person or a small group. They can make or break a Church. Thank, hug and tip your PowerPoint people regularly. Seriously.
5. Explain, Explain, Explain. I know that people who attend regularly get tired of hearing the same old lines – But don’t stop doing it. I need to know when to stand and sit. I need to know what happens at communion. I need to know everything since I have no past experiences with this group.
All in all we had a good visit on Sunday. My pen was working and my mind was working even faster. I had some great take-aways while being a part of worship. The high school minister spoke while the preaching minister was on vacation. I can only assume he was off at another Church doing the same thing I was doing. I pray both of our Churches are the better for it.