Friday, July 7, 2017
Why Guests Return
The most common reason people check out your church is someone invited them.
The most common reason people leave your church is they don’t feel connected.
We might be wise to focus just a little less on why people don’t come, and invest more energy into why people do come. But what are the most common reasons people return to your church after their first visit or two?
1) The presence of God is felt.
There is an unmistakable awareness of the presence and power of God at work. It may be inspirational and filled with emotion, or a more quiet and peaceful stirring within, but however it’s experienced, the presence of God is felt.
2) The key leaders are perceived as trustworthy.
Guests come to your church at varying levels of “readiness” to trust the leaders they encounter. But it’s surprising how quickly they can discern if they trust you or not. Even from only a message or two, or brief connections in the lobby, they intuitively have decided if they can trust you. Your level of authenticity and clarity of communication make a huge difference in this process.
3) The worship service is positive, relevant, biblically sound and executed with heart and excellence.
You don’t have to compete with the other churches near you. The important thing is to be the very best that you can. For example, if the worship team isn’t strong, select less challenging music, and do it with excellence. If the preaching isn’t strong, make the message shorter. In all cases, keep practicing, so you get better. Make sure the service is positive, clearly biblical, upbeat and communicates faith in an atmosphere of grace.
4) The volunteers and congregation express authentic love and care.
Genuine love and attention is unmistakable and irresistible. When people encounter it, it’s truly transforming. The source is God’s love, but the expression and experience come from the people in your congregation, both from your volunteer leaders and regular attenders.
5) They hear current stories of life change.
Connected to brief and creative communication of your purpose or mission/vision are stories of life change every week. These stories need to be communicated in a variety of creative ways. That is hugely compelling and draws people back. Life change is inspiring, and it gives hope that they too can experience positive and spiritually oriented change.
6) There are no “glaring” shortcomings.
There are no perfect churches, we all have flaws. But there should be nothing that is an immediate turn-off, or so grossly out of line that it makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable. For example, I’ve seen nurseries that were unclean and unsafe. I’ve listened to worship sets that were painfully unrehearsed. Or it may be something as simple as the building is in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint or signage that is clear and helpful. If you are not sure, invite a church consultant to come in for one Sunday, that’s all it takes!
7) The children’s ministry is outstanding.
Each of your ministries matter, but children’s ministry is the one that receives the least grace from your guests. Parents are justifiably protective and want the best for their kids. They don’t yet know you or what happens when they drop off their children. Candidly, guests will give an “average” service another shot, but if their child has a bad experience, they will not likely return. Invest great effort and energy in your children’s ministry.
These are the elements that inspire guests to return. This gives you the opportunity to make the “deeper connections.”
Posted by Joyfull at 6:30 AM