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Visiting Churches

Not Welcoming: Discussion Question on Church #58

The website of this large church boasts that we’ll find “a warm and friendly group of people.” If you must claim you’re friendly, you might not be; they might be not welcoming.

Experience tells me they may try but will fall short. 

Consider these seven discussion questions about Church 58.

Always anxious before visiting a church, my gut churns even more. A sharp pain jolts me. My heart thumps. I later learn I had an anxiety attack. How can we best help people who struggle to enter a church building?

Inside, preoccupied people mill about. We walk slowly, giving someone time to approach us. No one does. And we see no one for us to approach. How can we be more aware of people longing for interaction?

When the countdown timer reaches zero the worship team begins to lead us in song. Most of the people, however, aren’t ready to worship. They aren’t even sitting down. How can we better prepare ourselves to worship God?

As I settle into the chorus of an unfamiliar tune, a reunion between two people hijacks my focus. Their loud conversation distracts me well into the third song. How can we balance a desire for community with the goal of worship?

We end up with about three hundred people, half of whom wander in several minutes after the service starts. How can we make sure we arrive on time and not distract others from experiencing God?

The minister leads us in Communion. “Everyone is invited to the table to encounter Jesus in their own way.” This is most inclusive. How can we better include people and help them encounter Jesus?

The insightful message was worth the hour-and-forty-five-minute service, but the rest disappointed me. I didn’t worship God today or experience community. I walk out feeling lonely. This church was not welcoming at all. What can we do to make sure people don’t leave church disappointed or ignored?

[Read about Church 58, Church 59, or start at the beginning of our journey.]

Get your copy of More Than 52 Churches and The More Than 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

Church #58: Not So Friendly

Today, we head to one of the area’s larger churches. In the past, they had a visible presence, but I’ve not heard much about them recently. Their website boasts that we’ll find “a warm and friendly group of people.”

I bristle. It’s like telling someone you’re humble or you’re honest: if you have to say it, you probably aren’t. Experience tells me they’ll try to be friendly but will fall short. 

Their “First Impressions Team,” sporting blue name badges, will be located “throughout the building” and available to answer questions. I suspect I should dress up, but their website says to “come as you are.” What a relief.

Charismatic Church

I can’t tell it from their website, but I know they’re a charismatic church, part of the Assemblies of God denomination. Even their name obscures that fact. Their website has only one mention of their affiliation, which is in small type at the bottom of one page. 

So many of the charismatic churches we’ve visited have left me disappointed. I wonder what today will bring. I see a photo of their lead pastor.

He’s a thirty-something hipster and not at all what I expect for a church with reputed conservative leanings. With this enigma confronting my mind, my anticipation for their service heightens.

The church facility enjoys a visible presence with easy access from the Interstate. We follow the arrows for visitor parking, but we don’t find it. So we park where everyone else does, glad for a spot under a shade tree, which will keep our car cool on this warm July day.

An Urge to Flee

Always anxious before visiting a new church, today my gut churns even more, and then a sharp pain surprises me. My heart thumps. In near panic, I fight the impulse to flee.

Unaware of my anxiety, Candy presses forward, and I fall in step alongside her. It’s going to be okay. I begin to pray. By the time we reach the door, my breathing is back to normal, and my pulse has slowed. I’ll be all right. Thank God!

Two greeters stand at the nearest entrance. The pair smiles broadly and holds open the doors. “Welcome youngsters!” The man is twenty years or so my elder.

I wonder if this is his attempt at flattery or if we represent youth to this congregation. While we have been the youngest people present at too many churches, I don’t expect that to happen today.

“I don’t know you,” says the woman. Affable, her directness carries an edge.

We admit to being first timers and exchange names. I don’t catch theirs, and I doubt they remember ours. We soldier on in. Despite people milling about, all act preoccupied. Once again, we’re invisible.

First Impressions

We walk slowly, giving people time to approach us, but no one does. And we see no one for us to approach, either. Where are those blue-name-tagged “First Impressions” folks mentioned on their website? We have yet to see one.

Based on the facility and decor, I expect an usher handing out bulletins, but there isn’t one. With nothing else to do, we stroll in and sit down. 

The large sanctuary seats about eight hundred on the main level. The sloped floor and auditorium seating, although contemporary in intent, gives a stoic vibe. There’s also a balcony, but, unlit, it must be closed. With only a smattering of people sitting down, they’re not even close to needing it. 

A countdown timer on dual screens tells us the service will begin in a few minutes. At some churches the counter signals the launch of the service, while at others it serves as a mere guideline, an anticlimactic tease. Today it is both.

Trying to Worship

The worship team of nine begins leading us in song when the display hits zero. Most of the people, however, aren’t ready to worship. Many aren’t even sitting down. Conversations continue as the band plays.

Just as I’m settling into the chorus of an unfamiliar tune, a reunion between two people occurs to my left, with their loud conversation distracting me well into the third song. I want to worship God. I must focus on the words I’m trying to sing. Even so, focus evades me. I can’t worship.

The band boasts three on guitar, with an electric bass, keyboard, and drums. Three vocalists round out the group. The vocals balance nicely with the instruments, though they’ve cranked the overall volume too high.

Most disconcerting, however, is the subwoofer that sends out sound waves to press against my chest with each beat. It causes me discomfort, but Candy can’t feel it.

Eventually we end up with about three hundred people, half of whom wander in well after the service starts. They’re mostly older than us, with few families and no children that I can see.

By the end of the fourth song, the flow reduces to a trickle. Is worshiping God in song not important to them or was this just a prolonged prelude?

After ten minutes, with most everyone finally seated, the lead pastor welcomes us. He’s everything I expected. I can’t wait to hear his message.

Welcome

His open, casual demeanor is geared toward visitors, yet his occasional use of church jargon would leave the unchurched confused. I wonder how much of my speech is likewise salted, despite my efforts to purge my words of Christianese. 

He refers to the bulletin, and I’m irked no one gave me one. I can’t look at the section he mentions or read the additional information. Then he sits down as a series of video announcements play. 

Communion

When he returns to the stage, he leads us in communion. “Everyone is invited to the table,” he says, “to encounter Jesus in their own way.” He explains the process, so we know what to expect. They serve both elements on one platter.

The “bread” is small oyster crackers. As for the clear liquid, I wonder if it’s white wine or clear grape juice. This is the most inclusive communion service I’ve ever experienced.

As a teetotaler, communion wine unsettles me, and I brace myself for its assault. It turns out to be grape juice, but my preoccupation over it fully distracts me from celebrating communion as I want.

Guest Speakers

We sing some more, and then the senior pastor introduces the guest speakers. I groan, hopefully to myself, at this news. I really wanted to hear their pastor, not some missionaries. But theirs isn’t a typical missionary message.

Instead, they share their story of how God prepared their future restoration even when they were in the middle of deep turmoil. 

They are effective communicators. God’s work in their lives is compelling. I jot down three one-liners: “Storms in life are inevitable,” “God is present in the storms,” and “May we see God’s hand in the center of our storms.”

Though the message doesn’t apply to me now, it one day might. I’m glad to know their story of hope.

Wrapping Up the Service

Afterward, the senior pastor returns to the stage and introduces the offering. The ushers pass the offering plates with quick efficiency, yet they somehow miss a few rows. Miffed because they skipped him, one man chases down an usher so he can present his gift.

Having completed his mission, the man returns to his seat while the pastor asks the prayer teams to come forward after the service to be available for prayer. As for himself and the rest of the staff, they will scoot out for their monthly visitor reception. The service ends, and most people scatter.

Post-Service Interaction

Candy thinks she sees someone she knows and goes over to investigate. I tarry, waiting to meet the man at the other end of my row, but he’s already talking to someone else, and it seems it will be a long conversation.

I scan the auditorium but see no one I can approach, and no one comes up to me. Soon I’m standing alone, with a gulf of emptiness around me. Not wanting to look too pathetic, I meander over to Candy. As I do, I look for the prayer teams up front but see no one.

After my wife wraps up her conversation, we head toward the door. 

“We could check out the visitor thing,” says my bride, “but why bother? We’ll never be back.”

I’m relieved. “Good point.”

Service Overview

We didn’t hear their lead pastor speak, but we did hear a worthy message, one that will stay with me. I’m glad to know this couple’s story of God’s provision and restoration.

From that standpoint, the hour-and-forty-five-minute service was worth it, but the rest of our time here left me disappointed. I didn’t worship God today or experience Christian community.

I walk out feeling lonely.

At the door stand two people with blue nametags, the first ones I noticed all morning. At least now I know what the tags look like. Pleasant folks, we say our goodbyes and step out into the warm sunshine.

[Read about Church 57 or start at the beginning of our journey.]

Get your copy of More Than 52 Churches and The More Than 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

A Second Perspective on Visiting 52 Churches

My wife went with me to every church we visited. “What an adventure!” she said. “We had the honor of worshipping with friends, old and new.” 

Here are two key considerations to discuss: 

1. The most important thing she learned from this trek was how to—and how not to—make someone feel welcome. 

How can you better reach out to visitors and those you don’t recognize?

2. The church is the body of Christ, not a single congregation or just one denomination. We have a huge spiritual family, with varied practices. 

How should you adjust your understanding of church and Christianity to better embrace its vastness and diversity?

Learn how to make someone feel welcome when the visit your church. Embrace the fact that we are a huge spiritual family, with varied practices.

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

Church Format and Size Matters

In general, we found smaller churches offered more opportunity to make connections. We also discovered that most liturgical churches weren’t very friendly.

Consider these two discussion questions about church format and size: 

1. Churches have characteristics that often relate to their size. 

How can you tap the strengths of your church’s size and counter its weaknesses to better connect with others?

2. Regarding church format, the format of a church’s service and the practices of members also impact the likelihood of embracing visitors. 

Given your church’s characteristics in these areas, what changes should you embrace to better welcome guests?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

Greeting Well at Church or Not at All

Too often one person made the difference between us feeling welcomed or ignored, forming our perceptions of the church. Greeting well occurs at three times: before, during, and after the service.

Consider these two discussion questions:

1. The pre-service greeting forms a first impression, while a post-service greeting provides the impression people leave with. 

How can you better engage with visitors before and after your service?

2. With interaction during the service it’s critical to address people you don’t know. Then introduce them to your friends. 

How can you interact with visitors more effectively during the service to help them feel welcomed?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

A Favorable Impression

Our destination is a church we’ve heard of often but know little about. Our favorable impression suggests a thriving, dynamic congregation. After the service they invite us back. I want to say yes, but our schedule won’t permit it.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #40

1. As we walk inside, a young man introduces us to his wife, and they invite us to sit with them. We gladly accept his visitor-friendly outreach. 

What can you do to help visitors feel more welcomed and comfortable?

2. Avoiding the often-awkward greeting time, they pass a friendship pad for everyone to sign. It contains a visitor card, which Candy completes, but she doesn’t know what to do with it. They solved one problem but created another. 

How can you make your expectations clearer?

3. Foremost in their church vision is prayer. “There is power in prayer,” states the preacher. “Prayer should be our default inclination.” 

How can you make prayer a more significant part of your church service and your faith?

4. After the service, our seatmates give us a tour of the facility, which left us with a favorable impression. What an inclusive gesture. I feel honored. 

How can you better include, accept, and honor guests?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

A Caring Community

Discussing Church 22

This church meets in a newer, contemporary building. It’s most inviting.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #22:

1. Many people introduce themselves. Their genuine interest, without being pushy, refreshes me. They ask our names, which they repeat with care. When they share theirs, they pause, giving us time to hear and remember. 

How important are people’s names to you and your church?

2. The minister is losing his voice. After introducing the topic, he lets the congregation finish the message. He invites them to share their stories of what others have done for them, how they showed love, and provided care. The congregation does this well. 

How well does your church do at sharing during a service? How can you do it better?

3. This congregation is a genuine community. They prove it in the quiet ways they help each other. “Caring for community is a witness,” says the pastor. 

What is your church’s witness? What is its reputation?

4. After the service, the pastor excuses himself. He fades away, perhaps because he doesn’t feel well, but more likely because he doesn’t need to be there. The congregation envelops us into their community. 

How well can your church function without your minister being present?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

How to Be an Engaging Church

How to Be an Engaging Church

The experiences I share in this book More Than 52 Churches are just that: my experiences. Other people will have different observations when visiting a church. I am an introvert, as is a slight majority of the population, but my reactions are not unique to or representative of introverts.

Indeed, everyone, both introvert and extrovert, will share my perspective to varying degrees—some more profoundly and others less so. Regardless, know that I have never talked with anyone who claimed they could visit a new church without some degree of anxiety.

Also know that I had a most supportive wife accompanying me each week (except for the week she was out of town and I went solo: Church #61, “The Wrong Time to Visit”). With her at my side, I stood much braver than I would have on my own.

Even so, I had to fight the urge to make a U-turn in the parking lot at Church #54 (“Emergent Maybe”) and pray earnestly to stave off a bit of a panic attack while walking into Church #58 (“Not So Friendly”).

Visiting a church with a non-supportive spouse would be even harder, as well as showing up by yourself. Given all this, it’s easy to see why someone with even the best intentions of visiting a church will decide not to.

Instead, they’ll maintain their Sunday morning status quo—whether staying home or attending the church they know, even if it’s the wrong one. Sticking with what we’re used to is so much easier than confronting our fears and going someplace unknown.

That’s why it’s so critical for a church to do everything possible to make it less scary for a visitor to show up. Being a welcoming church is a great start, but it’s not enough. Churches need to go beyond welcoming visitors. They need to engage with them. You must be a disarming church, likeable, even irresistible.

There are many factors that make a church engaging. Three recurring themes emerged from our visits to other churches. These stand out as essential skills to master to be an engaging church.

1. Make it Easy for Visitors

Most people today go online to find information. This includes someone thinking about visiting your church. Therefore, having an attractive, up-to-date, and visitor-friendly website is key. This is the first key to be an engaging church.

A few churches try to skip this step by establishing their online home base on various social media sites. This, however, is shortsighted. Social media platforms can change their rules of engagement at any time, restrict who sees your information, and even summarily shut you down without notice.

Yes, a church can still have social media pages, but these should direct visitors to the church website, which the church owns and controls.

As mentioned, the website must be attractive. It should look current and be easy to navigate. It must follow best practices. This means your website needs a makeover every couple of years, or else it will look dated, which will cause visitors to dismiss your church as out of touch.

Next, your website needs current information. Remove obsolete content and add new info as soon as changes occur. Nothing will cause website visitors to bounce from your site faster—and dismiss your church quicker—than when it includes information that’s no longer relevant.

A third key is accuracy. Some church websites are as misleading as dating profiles. (Not that I have any firsthand experience with dating websites, but I’ve heard that embellished claims abound).

Some church websites paint a picture of what the church once was but no longer is, while other sites present an image of what they want to become. Both are lies and seriously mislead visitors, which results in disappointment. This causes first-time church visitors to become one-time visitors.

As far as the specific information a website should have, clear and easy to find service times are critical. Don’t make people search for this or wonder if what they find is accurate.

Just as important is your street address. Unless your location is well known and highly visible, assume visitors will use their GPS to get there. Make it easy for them to do so.

Next, people will wonder what they should wear to feel comfortable at your church. And even if you don’t care what they wear, they will. They’ll want to fit in, so let them know how most people dress. Is your church come-as-you-are, business casual, or Sunday best? Somewhere in between?

If you have multiple services, note the times. Highlight any differences, such as in format, music content, and sermon style. Also note any other Sunday programming you may offer.

Do you have Sunday school? Is it concurrent to the service or at a different time? Do you have something separate for teens? What about college students or young singles? These are two demographics that many churches overlook.

Let newcomers know what to expect. Beyond explaining a typical service, tell them what they can encounter before and after. Let them know how long the service typically lasts. And please, tell them the offering is just for members and regular attendees.

You should also explain your communion practices, since these vary a lot from one church to another. At most of the churches we visited that included communion, my desire to understand and fit in with their practices so distracted me that I failed to focus on the reason why I was taking communion. This was an epic fail for me—and for them.

Lastly, make it easy for prospective visitors to contact your church with questions. This includes listing your phone number and email address.

Just make sure you respond quickly to both. Most churches don’t, with a few delaying their response to visitor communication for days, weeks, and, in one case, even months. And some don’t respond at all.

What I’ve not included on this list of website information is a doctrinal statement. I don’t think most people care, and those who read it may seek one hot-button word or phrase, using it to eliminate your church from further consideration. The reality is that at most churches, the people who go there don’t know what their church’s core beliefs are, and those who do know, often disagree with an element or two.

2. Create a Great Impression

Okay, so your website did a good enough job to entice someone to visit your church. Now you need to make a great impression when they arrive, knowing that their first perception of your church began with your website. This is the second key to be an engaging church.

You’ve given them your street address, so their GPS will get them to your facility. If you only have one entrance to your parking lot, they’ll know where to go, but if you have multiple entrances, be sure to have signs, banners, or flags directing them to the right one.

Some large churches have parking lot attendants to direct traffic to open spaces, but even some forward-thinking mid-sized churches have greeters in their parking lot to welcome visitors and be available to answer questions.

You must have someone greet them at your building entrance to give them a smile, welcome them well, and open the door. This person should focus on people they don’t recognize and not their friends. This greeter should look for signs of apprehension or confusion, doing whatever they can to ease a visitor’s concerns or fears.

A positive welcome, however, extends inside the building too. Larger churches have visible and attractive information centers, staffed by approachable and outgoing people to assist visitors in any way possible. At smaller churches, or those lacking the space for a visitor center, station people inside to assist those who look lost or confused.

In all this, the goal is to make a great impression, welcoming visitors well and helping them enjoy their experience.

3. Greet Well

As I mentioned in 52 Churches, there are three opportunities to greet visitors: before the service, during the service, and after the service. Few churches do all three well. And too many fail at each one. Greeting well is the third key to be an engaging church.

As already mentioned, the pre-service greeting occurs in the parking lot, at the front door, and inside your facility. But that’s not enough. These people serve as official greeters because they’re outgoing, engaging, and have a knack at helping people feel comfortable. However, this doesn’t mean the other 99 percent of your church shouldn’t also greet visitors.

The pre-church greeting extends into the sanctuary or worship space. This secondary form of greeting could be as simple as making eye contact, smiling, and waving or saying hello. Anyone should be able to do that.

Beyond that, everyone should look for people standing by themselves with no one to talk to or who look lost. Talking with friends should always take second place to interacting with visitors. And remember, most visitors won’t care if someone’s approach may be a bit awkward. They’ll just be thrilled that someone cared enough to try.

For stoic churches, a nod of acknowledgment may be all you can do, while for more outgoing churches, the time before the service is a great opportunity to get to know someone. You can even offer to sit with them during the service to help them feel more comfortable and better navigate the service. This is extremely important for churches with liturgical services, which are hard for most visitors to follow.

Next is the greeting during the service. From a visitor perspective, most churches do this so poorly they might be better off skipping it. Seriously.

If you do have a greeting time during the service, train your people to be visitor-focused, not friend-focused. Give visitors the bulk of your attention. Make eye contact, smile, and offer a handshake. Share your name. Ask theirs. Now introduce them to someone else. And whatever you do, don’t allow visitors to squirm in silence while everyone else is talking with others.

Don’t call out visitors by having them raise their hand, or worse, stand up. This is most embarrassing. Instead, invite them to go to the back of the sanctuary or visitor center after the service.

The final greeting occurs after the service ends. It’s true that some visitors scoot out as quickly as possible—especially if they had a bad experience—but other visitors may be open to tarry. Reward them for their bravery by talking to them. At the same time, don’t overwhelm or interrogate them, just be friendly.

Seek to establish a connection. If there’s any after-church activity, invite them to stay for it. This may be coffee and refreshments. Or it could be a potluck. Assure them there will be plenty of food and that they’re welcome to stay. Ask them if they have any questions. If you don’t know the answer, take them to someone else who will be able to help.

Though not as common as it once was, you can invite them to have lunch with you.

Even if your church failed at the pre-church greeting and the mid-service greeting, a good post-church greeting can still salvage the situation, serving as a final and positive impression for them to take home.

Good worship music and engaging preaching may draw visitors, but it’s the human connection that keeps them coming back. This starts with greeting visitors well.

If you want your church to grow—and every church should—strive to engage with visitors. Click To Tweet

Engaging Church Summary

If you want your church to grow—and every church should—strive to engage with visitors; you must be an engaging church. This starts with the information you provide online, which should make it easy for them to decide to visit. It continues by making multiple good impressions when they arrive at your facility. Then it culminates with greeting them well before, during, and after the service.

You won’t succeed in each of these areas every time, but you should work to succeed in as many of them as possible, as often as possible.

The Next Step

To do your part in being an engaging church, turn your focus from yourself and your friends to visitors and those you don’t know.

[This is an excerpt from Peter’s book More Than 52 Churches.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

A New Church

Discussing Church 7

I suspect this church is only a couple years old. I later learn they’re an outgrowth of a small group.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #7:

1. Their meeting space looks abandoned. We approach with uncertainty. I hesitate to walk inside. It wouldn’t take much to make the entrance more inviting.

What simple things can you do to make your facility say “welcome” instead of “go away”?

2. Inside, people mingle. Several introduce themselves in a friendly, unassuming way. They’re great at pre-meeting interaction with people they don’t know.

How can you best connect with visitors before church? How can you encourage others to follow your example?

3. Their leader is a tentmaker pastor. Like Paul in the Bible, he works for a living to share Jesus for free. Without him drawing a salary, there is more money for outreach and ministry.

How might your congregation move away from depending on paid staff and tap the skills of capable volunteers?

4. As is often the case, it’s new churches—not established ones—where people are most apt to discover God and grow into a vibrant faith.

What can you do to promote a new-church excitement where you worship?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

A Caring Church: It Only Hurts When You Care

Discussing Church 3

The third church is more established like Church #1 but more midsized like Church #2. It is a caring church.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #3:

1. Many pages on their website are “under construction” or “coming soon.” The sections for members have information, while the pages for visitors are incomplete.

What can you do to keep your website up-to-date and relevant for visitors?

2. Finding the church is a person’s first challenge. Knowing which door to enter is next. This facility has several doors, all unmarked. We don’t know which one to use.

How can you better guide people to the correct entrance?

3. These folks dress up for church. I don’t. My appearance doesn’t bother me, but it might be a problem for others—both visitors and members.

Will visitors who dress differently feel comfortable at your church or out of place?

4. As we walk in, a friend spots me. She says, “This won’t be a typical service.” One of their members died by suicide. The service will address their loss.

If your service will have unexpected content or be difficult to deal with, what can you do to alert guests to help them avoid unpleasant surprises?

A caring church makes the difference when dealing with difficult situations. This church exemplifies this well.

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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