There are many reasons people attend your church on any given Sunday.
They may be new to the community and looking for a church home, or maybe they are new to church in general and are checking it out.
Perhaps they used to be a regular church attender somewhere but are now looking for someplace new to attend with their family.
Maybe they are unchurched and have had a significant life event that has them searching for answers, and “church” seems like the logical place to turn.
Whatever the reason is that someone attends your church for the first time, you can rest assured they are coming with expectations. These expectations are often based on experiences they’ve had growing up, experiences with other churches and maybe even experiences they’ve had with Christians.
Before they ever step foot into your worship center, the average guest has already checked out your church and made assumptions about it based on your website.
Combine their expectations with the natural stress that comes from visiting anyplace that is new, but especially the stress that comes from visiting a church, and you’ve got your work cut out for you if you’re going to connect with this person in a meaningful way.
Here are seven tips you can use to be sure your guests have a positive experience:
1. Have a web experience, not just a website.
Make sure your website accurately reflects who you are as a church. Everything from the graphics and photographs you use to the words and videos you post should clearly reflect the vision of your church.
2. Make sure your website is informational with the basic information your guests will want.
Including service times and locations, but also what to wear, where to take their children and a brief explanation of what they can expect.
3. Clear directional signs.
And friendly attendants are a must in your parking lot.
4. Have greeters be a genuine and welcoming presence.
Not a barricade or a gauntlet that the guests must endure.
5. Be sure guests are escorted to the places in your building they need to go to.
And not pointed in the right direction.
6. Welcome guests in a gracious and friendly way from the stage.
Be sure to give them next steps (i.e., “Right after the service, stop by our café for a free cup of coffee and meet our pastor”).
7. Have a follow-up plan in place and use it.
Guests expect you to follow up and to invite them to come again. Follow up contact should be fairly soon after the visit, typically 24 to 48 hours.
Keep this in mind: Your guest experience will be just that, an experience. As a church leader, you have the power to influence what kind of experience it will be.