Later this week, I’ll be leading a FREE webinar called “Growing Your Church Challenge: 10 Ideas to Help Grow Your Church that Cost Little to No Money.” I’ll be sharing some real practical ideas that helped our church grow from just our family to over 800 in attendance each weekend in just 7 years. If you haven’t already, sign up here. In light of that, I thought I would share a quick, fun post today about 10 practical things that churches should stop doing.
I believe it takes a lot of hard work to get new people to come to church. Once we get someone new to attend our church, it takes even more intentionality and hard work to get someone new to return. How do we create an environment in which God is greatly glorified and visitors are greatly welcomed? How do we strike a balance between not taking ourselves too seriously and relying on the Holy Spirit, but also doing our best to eliminate any distractions that may get in the way of an attender having a great experience?
While we will continue to wrestle with these questions, there are some things that churches are doing that I think are no-brainers to stop. While some of these are subjective and certainly my own opinion, I don’t think I’m alone on most of these. Here’s my list…what would you add?
Eliminate the Pastor’s parking spot
Unless it’s for handicap reason, which in this case, you should provide handicap parking, we should reserve the best spots for our visitors.
Not allowing coffee in the sanctuary/worship center
It’s time to treat our church members like they should be treated. The worst thing that could happen would be someone would spill their coffee and we have to clean it later.
Misspell words on screens
I don’t care how engaged I am in a service, if I notice an error, I’m always distracted. Most people are.
Conclude your message 5 times
The pastor should say “In conclusion” only once in a message. It’s disingenuous and feels unprepared if there are multiple endings to the same message.
Keep the “Free Gift” to visitors a secret
Many churches, in exchange for new visitor information, will offer a free gift to the visitor. Rather than saying the generic “free gift” I personally would like to know what I would be getting in advance. Side note, if you aren’t saying what the gift is because you don’t think it’s enticing or valuable enough, it’s probably time to rethink what you are giving away.
Force guests to “stand out” publicly
While we should provide opportunity for those who are new and want to begin making connections, forcing someone who is new to stand up during announcements, wear a name tag, or identify themselves in some other way will make many feel awkward. The opposite of what we are wanting.
Shame your visitors
This especially happens to the CEO’s (Christmas and Easter Only Crowd). Rather than shaming them for not coming, extend a heartfelt welcome to come back. Focus your services and your church around being friendly, welcoming, and encouraging of your guests. If you try hard all year to get new visitors, and then they actually come, why would you shame them for coming?
Make visitors guess where to go
It’s a big step for someone new to come to your church. Some of the visitors that come to your church have never been to a church before, or maybe even were prayed over for years before they stepped foot in your church. Your signage should be very clear on where restrooms are located, where the children’s ministry is, where to go if it is your first time, where to get questions answered, etc.
Pray in the “King James Version”
There is incredible beauty in the words of the most popular version of the Bible. While it is perfectly acceptable to read and translate this version of the Bible, our speech should resemble the language that we would use today, not one that was used 400+ years ago. Unless your day-to-day dialogue is filled with King James Version, your prayers shouldn’t be either. Switching from one mode of conversation to this “old” style feels inauthentic.
Run out of time in your message
When a preacher regularly plans a multi-point sermon but only gets through one point and then rushes through the other points it smacks of being unprepared. If preaching is your craft, work on it, practice, and don’t let Sunday morning be the first time you’ve spoken the sermon aloud.
Trust me. I understand how hard it is to be in ministry. Pastors and church leaders do so many things right that I would hate for one of these small things to turn into a reason for someone not wanting to come back to your church.
So what can you do to help your church grow? Join me this Thursday at the FREE webinar and I’ll share 10 really practical ideas with you to grow your church that cost little no money.