As you plan, do think what someone who has never been to a church service, or church event, feels like when entering such a foreign territory. It’s much how you may feel if you were to go into a betting shop.
In some settings you may even want words on your invitation like – ‘We don’t dress up for Sundays. Just come as you are’.
Check your user-friendliness
This may be the time for a small group to do a mini-audit on how user friendly and welcoming your church is. One way is to take an imaginary walk from the kerb to the seat, trying to see it through a visitor’s eyes.
They should consider
- Is the entrance easy to find?
- Will there be a big smile at the door?
- Does the lobby area – especially the notice boards – need decluttering?
- Are the loos easy to find – and with soft paper, air fresheners and nice soap?
- Will they be shown to a seat?
- Will everything from then on be easy to follow and in their language?
- Can you upgrade the refreshments that probably follow? Dump Rich Tea for Jaffa Cakes, include decaf and gluten free options, and so on?
Offer a ‘first-timers’ pack
You won’t want to embarrass visitors by making them stand out. But you could offer a free ‘first-timers’ pack that they ask for as they leave.
The pack should demonstrate how much you value your visitors. For example it should
- Be classy – well designed and put together
- Have a note of ‘so pleased you visited’ from your church leader
- Speak ordinary language
- Include an appropriate booklet that says more about the Christian message
- Have a list of church activities with the web address of the church
- Include something delightful that they would not expect – like a small bar of chocolate.