On July 3rd, I will celebrate the completion of 17 years of pastoral ministry. An inner city re-start, an established denominational church and a church plant have been my calling. I have been blessed to see considerable growth in each ministry. Finding, reaching and integrating new people has been very important to me since my first day in the ministry.
One of the key elements of integration is how we handle guest who enter our church. Over the years I’ve made my fair share of blunders (and watched or heard of others) in handling these important people.
Here’s a list of “DON’T DO’S” for Church Guest.
- Neglecting – Not following up with people is a monumental mistake. Never intentional, sometimes unavoidable, but always easy to do. One of the most common mistakes amongst churches. When we don’t email, write, call or show them we realized they were there we imprint a bad first impression upon them.
- Ostracizing – At times guest are such a rare thing at a church that we make them feel quite uncomfortable. Most people don’t want to go to a church that makes too big of a deal their presence. Make them feel special without making them feel like they are an aberration.
- Cheesy – When trying to show appreciation the church has led the way in things that are totally not cool. Unsharpened pencils, plastic bible penny banks or singing a welcome song to them. Who needs this?
- Over selling – Every church has that person who wants to size up the guest and their family and tell them in detail exactly the ministry that we have that they will love. Maybe they will or maybe they couldn’t care less about our Saturday evening prayer and pastry ministry. Don’t try to decide for them.
- Assuming – There have been people that after having seen or talked to we quickly make the assumption that they won’t fit here. Maybe it’s their style, their dress or their social status. I shutter to think of those we’ve lost due to bad assumptions.
- Embracing too quickly – Sometimes in our desperation as churches to grow and assimilate new people we too quickly embrace by putting in positions of responsibility and authority. This ancient Chinese church proverb J is helpful here, “It is easier to keep them out than get them out once they are there.”
What would you add to this list?