Welcome back. In our continuing series, we are the 5 reasons your church visitors won’t come back. Let’s review!

#1 – the church campus looked crummy and uninviting, and they had to park in the back 40.

#2 – they made it into your church or building and then no one said a word to them. Was as if they were invisible…mmm and then you delivered an apple pie to their door as a thank you.

#3 – oh, yeah, someone said a word to them while they were there…they asked them to move from their seat! A seat that was apparently molded to that member’s rear-end after 15 (or 10 or 2) years of sitting in the same place. Who knew?! In other words, someone was just not nice to them.

Today, we explore the #4 reason why your church visitors won’t come back: you mercilessly embarrrassed them. I grew up in a church that had really good intentions. I mean, you have to know who the visitor is, right? Before you can say hi? That was the good intention. It is still widely practiced today, much like unfortunate initiation rites may still be the norm in strange, undiscovered tribes.

Oh yeah, it’s easy to spot a visitor…identify the unsuspecting visitor, make him or her stand up and wave, give them something to fill out that is hard to read and the spaces aren’t big enough to write in, then stare at them as they squirm a little in their pew. Heh. Yeah, they are EASILY identified then!

I’ve even seen visitors asked to wear a name tag identifying them as a visitor, an outsider, an interloper. I was asked to wear a name tag when I mystery-shopped a church and I refused. That really helped things along.

So, what to do? Well, we’ve discussed a few things in earlier posts and I’ll add a couple more here:

* have an eagle-eyed greeter at the door who can identify visitors, welcome them and alert helpers or staff – visitors make up their minds with the first 10 minutes OR LESS of a visit.

* remind your congregation that, if you’re blessed, you may have visitors and they should reach out and touch someone for Pete’s sake. Be a welcoming congregation.

* seat them with volunteer families or couples where you know they’ll get chatted up and feel warmly welcomed.

* have a goodie ready…yes, you have to give them a church packet with info once you’ve chatted with them…but another mug? Really? What about a small gift card? Or a DVD of some of the best sermons and activities? Or a coupon for ice cream somewhere?


Just don’t embarrass them.

Next time? The #5 Reason Your Church Visitors Won’t Come Back – High Church! Until then,