Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
How to be on mission in the city
Wed May 15, 2013
by Stephen Um
How to love people well
Tue May 14, 2013
by Dave Bruskas
Gathering the tribes
Mon May 13, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
It’s always someone’s first Sunday at your church
How a first time visitor experiences your kids area, worship, sermon—even the parking lot—can determine a lot about if they come back.
Our church recently moved into a new facility. On our first Sunday in our new facility, it was everyone’s first time at the new place, and so our church got to experience again what a first time guest feels. I was reminded of an important truth that is easily forgotten the longer you attend one church or are in one building:
It’s always someone’s first Sunday at your church. While we see guests each week at church, it is easy to forget this truth and the ramifications of it. They can feel lost and confused. They drive onto a church campus, they aren’t sure where to park, which door to walk into, where to drop their kids off or where the restrooms are.
But their first experience could have an enormous impact on their life. Based on their experience parking or in the kids area, they may decide to be more open to your sermon. If they feel good about how their kids are feeling, then they might feel good. Based on the worship experience, they may decide to come back next week.
A simple thing to do is be clear. Post signs to the front door, parking, kids rooms and bathrooms. Make it obvious. A mentor once told me, if you think you have enough signs, add some. Remember, new people don’t know where to go. It can feel embarrassing, much like asking someone where their bathroom is the first time you are in their house.
Having signs also communicates to a guest, “We’ve been expecting you. Because we’ve been expecting you, we know what you are going to be feeling when you get here and we want to help you.”
Give them a head’s up
When they sit down, they are unsure what is going to happen. Some guests who walk in for the first time have never been to church, or a church like yours. They don’t know what to do, when to stand, how long it will last, when things happen. Where else do you stand and sing with a group of people songs you don’t know?
To alleviate this, simply explain at different points of your service, what you are doing. Tell them how long they can expect to be there, if you say 75 minutes, it better be 75 minutes. Tell them why you sing songs that you believe to be true about Jesus, why you are doing Communion and how you do it. If you dip bread into the cup, tell them or else someone will come up and drink out of the cup.
Walk it out, talk ’em up
Lastly, create a culture of walking around. This can be hard in churches, but it starts with the leaders.
When most people show up at their church, they want to see their friends. They don’t often think about talking to new people. To get regulars to talk to guests, the leaders must do this. At our church, you can spot the guests because five minutes before the service starts, they are the only ones sitting in the sanctuary while everyone else is mingling. Our leaders take the time to walk through the rows, say hi, and chat them up. One of my favorite things to read on a guest feedback card is, “People talked to me.”
Remember, this Sunday, it will be someone’s first time at your church. After that, who knows? They might find themselves in a small group or missional community, taking steps in their spiritual journey and one day finding themselves following Jesus—all because God used your intentionality in welcoming a first-time guest.