Visiting Churches

Discussion Questions on How to Be an Engaging Church

The experiences I share in this book are my experiences. Others may have different observations. I’m an introvert, as is a slight majority of people.

Even so, I doubt my reactions are unique to me or even to other introverts. 

Consider these fifthteen discussion questions about How to Be an Engaging Church.

1. Whether introvert or extrovert, I’ve never talked with anyone who claimed they could visit a new church without some degree of anxiety.

How can the knowledge that visitors carry some unease better inform our interactions with them?

2. In visiting churches, I had a most supportive wife at my side. With her, I stood much braver than I would have on my own.

Who can we invite to go with us on our spiritual journeys?

3. Visiting a church alone is even harder than going with a friend. It’s easy to see why someone with even the best intentions of visiting will stay home.

Who can we invite to go to church with us?

4. People hold to the Sunday schedule they know—whether staying home or attending church. Maintaining our norm is easier than trying something new.

What do we need to change in our Sunday routine?

5. Churches that want to grow must do everything possible to make it less scary for a visitor to show up. Being welcoming is a start, but there’s more. Churches must be likeable, even irresistible.

How can we become irresistible people? 

Tip 1: Make it Easy for Visitors

Most people today go online to find information about a church they’re thinking of visiting. Therefore, having an attractive, up-to-date, and visitor-friendly website is essential. Don’t make them search. They don’t have much patience.

6. Some churches forego a website and try social media instead. But social media platforms can change their rules, restrict access, and even shut us down.

What impact would our church feel if we lost our social media presence?

7. Our website must be attractive, be easy to navigate, and follow best practices. It needs a makeover every few years to not look dated.

What can we do to improve our church’s website? 

8. Make it easy for prospective visitors to contact our church with questions. This means listing a phone number and email address. Respond quickly to both. Most churches don’t.

How can we help our church be more responsive to visitor questions?

Tip 2: Create a Great Impression

When a visitor arrives at church, create a great first impression, building on their perception that began with our website.

A website may encourage a person to visit a church, but it takes a personal connection to turn one-time visitors into returnees. 

9. Some large churches have parking lot attendants to direct traffic and forward-thinking smaller churches have greeters in their parking lot to welcome visitors and answer questions.

What impression does our church make before people enter the building? 

10. Greet visitors at the building entrance with a smile, welcome them, and open the door. Greeters should focus on people they don’t recognize.

Whether we’re an official greeter or not, what can we do to better welcome visitors?

11. A positive welcome extends inside the building. Regardless of church size, seek ways to assist those who look confused.

What can we do to rescue a visitor who looks lonely or lost?

Tip 3: Greet Well

As 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.

12. Pre-service greetings can occur in the parking lot, at the front door, and inside the facility. In addition to official greeters, everyone should take part.

Regardless of how outgoing we are, what can we do to interact with visitors?

13. If there’s a greeting during the service, we must be visitor-focused, not friend-focused. Make eye contact, smile, and offer a handshake. Share our name. Ask theirs. Now introduce them to someone else.

How can we better embrace visitors during the greeting time? 

14. The final greeting occurs after the service. Before visitors scoot out, talk to them. Just be friendly. Seek a connection. Invite them to stay for any after-church activity.

How can we better connect with visitors after the service?

Engaging Church Summary

To grow, a church should engage with visitors. This starts with online information, helping them to decide to visit. It continues by making multiple good impressions when they arrive.

It culminates with greeting them successfully before, during, and after the service.

15. Churches won’t succeed in each area every time, but we should work to succeed in as many as possible, as often as possible.

What can we do to be more engaging as a church? As individuals?

[Read How to Be an Engaging Church, or start at the beginning of our journey.]

If you feel it’s time to move from the sidelines and get into the game, The More Than 52 Churches Workbook provides the plan to get you there.

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.