"We're such a warm, friendly little
.."They're so cold and
A. Most people's
decision to return to a particular church is made in the
first ten minutes of their arrival.
1. Is there
enough parking? Are there specially marked parking
places near the entry for elderly and for guests?
2. Are the grounds
clean and picked up? Is ice removed from the driveway and
walkways? The mowed grass is swept off the
3. Do Host
families open the door for people as they arrive? Do they
introduce themselves (in addition to wearing name tags)
if they do not know someone? Are they taught to ask if
people would like them to hang up their costs (and show
them where they are hung)? Do they remember to invite
people to stay for refreshments? Are there umbrellas
available for them to use for people on rainy
4. Are there signs
telling were the restrooms and phones are
5. Do the ushers
greet them in a friendly fashion, introducing themselves
to those they do not know?
6. Are the
bulletins formatted for those who might be unfamiliar
with your worship styles? Have they been checked for
mistakes? Is the copy quality conducive to easy
7. Can people hear
and see all that is happening during the worship
8. What means is
used to ask guests to share their names and addresses,
while respecting many people's need for
B. Now that the
worship has begun
1. Are there
a variety of worship options so people of different age
groups can experience the language and music which is
most meaningful for them?
2. Are the worship
leaders leading with a sense of joy
., depending on the
theme of the day?
3. Does the
worship celebration flow smoothly and efficiently, with
each leader knowing her or his part?
4. Are theological
words kept to a minimum, and carefully explained when
they are used?
5. Is the sermon
less an effort to "illustrate a point" and more an effort
to "animate an experience" (L. Sweet)? Are there visuals
and music incorporated into the sermon occasionally? Is
it conversational style? It may or may not be from a
pulpit, but is it still where everyone can see the
6. Are guests
asked not to contribute to the offering plate, reserving
that responsibility for the members?
7. Are the
communion practices explained so guests will feel
8. Are the members
taught (over and over) the importance of simple
hospitality? Is there a team of people with a spiritual
gift for hospitality organized to reach out to the guests
on their way out of the worship center?
C. When the worship
celebration is over
1. What kind
of follow-up is in place for 1st time visitors? (Best =
lay team within 36 hours)
2. Are "regular
attenders" (who are not members) and seasonal guests
known by name and greeted warmly? Are they invited into
the life of the congregation beyond Sunday