We are finishing up our series – The Top Five Reasons Your Church Visitors Won’t Return. Number 5? High church – or anything else out of the ordinary. This is one of the most overlooked areas of visitor outreach and retention. Your visitors need to know what to expect.

Let’s pretend for a minute: The visitor comes into your worship area. Maybe he did a little research and saw that the 11:00AM service is blended or somewhat contemporary, which is a great fit for him and his family. Uh-oh! Not today! Not what he expected! Today was high church.

Let me give you a specific example that is a real story.

A pastor once decided to have a high church service. Although I’m dubious as to what “high church” really entails, in his mind it included some songs in Latin (you know the type…beautiful, but not always accessible to everyone), flags, processing, and more.

The problem was not that he decided to have this type of service, but that he did not market it well and set appropriate expectations. There were 3 church visitors that day who came looking for the blended, laid-back worship service. What they got was something far more, um…traditional. There was nothing on the sign outside or in the church marketing that would have indicated that it was a special service. Nothing on the front page of the website gave anyone an inkling.

What happened? The visitors were supremely uncomfortable with the pomp and circumstance. The service ran way over because of all of the extra “stuff” and they felt the church was not the right fit for them. Even in follow-up with the visitors, they said over and over that it was embarrassing that they came in jeans and t-shirts for one type of service, but got another. Ouch.

Let me be clear – your worship opportunities should reflect the calendar (Lent, Pentecost, Advent…) and should reflect the community in their variety, but they should also be marketed appropriately so your visitors know what to expect, can dress accordingly and will be comfortable during the worship service.

How do you achieve this:

* Use the outdoor sign or banners to share a special worship opportunity
* Fully engage your Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Ning or other communities to spread the word
* Update your website regularly to ensure that when a potential visitor is finding out “what’s up” for the coming service, the information is accurate and reliable
* Build visitor buzz around a special worship service by promoting it in podcasts or in other venues where visitors might be

Well, we’ve coveredProfessional Mojo’s Top Five Reasons Your Church Visitors Won’t Return. Next up? A discussion on tips to create compelling websites for nonprofits and faith-based organizations. See you then~

Lee