January 18, 2016 Jason Vernon

5 Incorrect Assumptions About First-Time Guests

When a new family shows up at your church for the first time, your main priority should be getting them to come back a second time. It’s not convincing them to give, serve, sign up for a small group or become a member. Here are…

5 Incorrect Assumptions About First-time Guests

  1. First-time guests don’t care about parking as long as the worship, message and other service elements are excellent. 

    Anything you can do to help families have an easier experience when entering or exiting your facilities is a great win. Friendly parking teams, shuttles, kids’ wagons, umbrellas and first-time guest parking spots are all wins. Andy Stanley said again this week, “The sermon begins in the parking lot.”

  2. First-time guests can easily figure out where to go. 

    The layouts of some churches can make people feel like they are in a maze. Signage is key to helping guests figure out where to go. Large, colorful and easy to read signage helps direct people to main entrance points. Make it easy for people to get to where they need to be.

  3. First-time guests are not concerned with the building’s appearance. 

    Churches tend to believe that their facilities are modern, warm and inviting when they are actually cold, uninviting and exuding an image other than what is desired. Landscaping, hospitality touches, smells, colors, decor, seating, safe and clean children’s areas all matter to new guests.

  4. First-time guests understand what you are talking about. 

    Without realizing it, most churches drift toward insider-focused language. Churchy language and terminology (“winnowing barley” and “threshing floor” are a few I’ve heard used lately with no explanation) is a great indicator that a church is not prepared for or expecting people who are unfamiliar with Jesus to attend.

  5. First-time guests think that nurseries and children’s ministries are nice additions to the worship experience. 

    Providing dynamic children’s ministry is EVERYTHING for parents and grandparents. Kids’ areas should be safe and adequately staffed with sharp, capable people. Check-in and check-out systems should work well. Parents want to see that a great deal of time, money and effort have been put into creating great environments for kids. Parents and grandparents want to know what their kids are learning, and they are interested in discovering how they can help their family take next steps in their walk with Jesus.

When people visit your church for the first time, “you matter to God” language will only be accepted after they’ve experienced “you matter to us” action.

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Jason Vernon

Jason Vernon

Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.
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