Keeping Church Visitors (Part 2)

Last week we looked at the first 5 of 10 reasons from a recent survey as to why people do not return to a church after visiting it.  The information came from an article by Thom Rainer of LifeWay.  Very interesting survey.  Here are reasons 6 through 10 – why people do not return to a church they visit.

  1. Poor signage. I do not doubt this at all. Churches are notorious for not letting people know who they are and where they are.  We have a sharp, first-class sign in front of our main building.  But around the corner on the side of our large property sits our Youth Building, which we have nicknamed the Power Plant.  It is the former sanctuary before the new building was erected.  Believe it or not, the old building has no sign.  An acquaintance of mine has been attending one of our support groups held in the youth building one night per week.  She knows I am a pastor, but she did not know where.  I asked her where she was attending the support group.  She described the location.  It was at our church!  But she did not know what church she was attending.  She was coming to First Baptist Church and did not even know it – because we have no sign on that side of the property.  As soon as we can, we are going to put up a sign which identifies the building as being part of First Baptist Church.
  2. Insider church language. I have noticed this for years. We get up in church and make announcements – assuming that everyone knows what we are talking about.  That is a mistake, which leaves visitors confused.  I always strive to make announcements assuming people are listening who know nothing about the announcement.  I try not to use “insider” church language.  We want visitors, unchurched, searching for faith, etc.  So, let’s communicate with them.
  3. Boring or bad service. This is vital. Both in preaching and in music we must strive to be relevant and “connecting” with people who live in our current culture.
  4. Members telling guests they are in their seat or pew. I have actually seen this happen! I always try to educate our church members not to make that mistake.
  5. Dirty facilities. I have seen this – where the faithful members of the church keep the main sanctuary sharp and clean, but they sometimes ignore the restrooms, nursery and children’s area. This will not bring back families – especially those who use such areas.

Interesting.  Much of this is simply common sense.  We need to look at our church through the eyes of a visitor and strive to do everything first-class!

Pastor Jim