Guest Readiness Seminars

By Ken Willard

On December 7th and 9th, the Congregational Vitality ministry sponsored two seminars with author, professional church consultant and coach Jason Moore. The seminars were called, “5 Things Your Visitors Are Thinking But Won’t Ask.” Both sessions were very well attended by pastors and laity. There was at least one person from every district in our conference who attended these workshops, the largest group from the Western District. 

Jason shared many great learning with the groups. Here are just a few of the highlights: 

  • The front door for most churches today is their website. This is where most first-time guests will look for information about your church. The top three things a new guest needs are:
    • Where are you? (a clickable address which opens a map);
    • What time is your worship? (don’t make them search to find it);
    • What can I expect? (words like “traditional” and “contemporary” don’t help unchurched people, you need to describe your service).
      Check your website now using your phone. (That’s how most people will view it on Sunday.) 
  • The signage throughout your church should be attractive, easy to read and helpful for a new person to find what they need, (restrooms, children’s ministry, sanctuary, etc.)
    • It does not cost as much as you might think to update and upgrade your signs so they are all the same style, font, and color.
    • Can new people find where to park, where to enter, and clear directions to where they need to go? Now is a great time to audit your total signage. 
  • One simple thing all churches can do to improve their hospitality is to ensure every one speaking during a worship service introduces themselves. 
  • A formalized child check-in procedure will show your new guests that we honor children and want to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone. (Many children have food allergies or some other type of medical condition that those serving in these ministries should be aware of and work with parents to prevent any issues.) 
  • Most people do not really like the greeting time during worship (over 70% of the people attending these seminars indicated they did not like this practice).
    • Two things all churches can do to improve this area is to limit the greeting time to just a minute or two and to give people who don’t want to participate (touch-sensitive, germ-sensitive, feeling ill, grieving, etc.) a way out.
      Introduce the practice with language such as this: “in a minute we are going to do what we call Passing-the-Peace if you would rather not participate today for any reason we encourage you to use this time for prayer and we will honor your posture.” 

There were many more wonderful learnings from these sessions. One of the best parts about these sessions were the examples Jason was able to share in each section from his many years of working with churches all over the country. He also encouraged everyone to not try to “adopt” what other churches were doing, but to “adapt” the examples to the context of each church situation. 

We look forward to bringing Jason back for more of these seminars and his Creative Worship seminars. Be sure to watch our conference calendar and your district communications to find out dates and locations for these upcoming workshops.