Spring is a wonderful time to invite your family and friends to a worship experience at Fort Caroline Baptist Church. More people are open to an invitation from someone they know at this time of the year. With Easter coming up I hope you are cultivating relationships and extending sincere invitations to try out our church. Did you know 80% of our members said they first came to our church because someone in the church invited them?
I am always asking how we can make the experience of your un-churched 1st time guest a positive one so they will want to return. Here are some of the steps we are taking and are always evaluating for improvement.
- Guest Parking that is convenient and easy to locate. Note, this designated parking is for guests. Hint, hint.
- Smiling and enthusiastic volunteers inside and outside our buildings to greet people and assist them as they find their way around.
- Greeters and ushers who are easily identifiable to the guest (name badges, t-shirts, etc.) If you go to Home Depot you look for the person wearing an orange vest. If you go to an Apple store you look for the person wearing a blue t-shirt. How do our guest know who to approach if they have a question? We need to improve on this.
- Good directional signage.
- A relaxed, casual atmosphere. New people are more nervous in formal environments. They are afraid they will break protocol. We want them to relax and focus on the message of the Gospel.
- Avoid “insider” language that guests may not understand, i.e., we say opening prayer, rather than invocation; auditorium, rather than sanctuary (The New Testament never calls a church facility the sanctuary), etc. See, 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 for why we are sensitive to the guests in our worship services.
- Tell people what to expect, how long the service will last, and what they can do if they want to connect with us on a deeper level.
- Let people take the next step when they are comfortable. Let them remain anonymous if they choose. Some folks want to check us out before completing a Communication Card.
- Pastor is available to greet guests. This is why I have a guest reception area at the back of the auditorium. It gives me a chance to meet our guests, answer questions they may have, and help them with spiritual decisions they may want to make. It takes unselfish church members to give me space at this time to focus on the guests.
- Preaching that is biblical and relevant to life.
- Clean restrooms and children’s facilities.
- People who will walk guests where they need to go, rather than pointing them to places.
- Church members who will take the initiative to warmly welcome the people around them in the halls and in the service.
- Use social media to help guests connect.
This community needs Jesus like never before! Let’s redouble our efforts to reach out to our un-churched neighbors and friends. Who will you invite today?
What ideas do you have to help us create guest-friendly environments?