Many churches work really hard to get new guests to attend our physical churches. Getting guests to attend our churches takes time, energy, vision, money, staff buy-in, and more. It is poor stewardship of our time to not also invest the time, resources, and energy to do everything we can to ensure that our guests who are joining us for the first time have a top-notch experience at our church. So, how guest-friendly is your church?
I’ve created a quick, 40-question assessment to help you discern how guest-friendly your church is. So, take 7 minutes (the average for how long it takes to finish) and see what score your church gets.
Also, I would encourage you to have other staff members or key leaders in your church take the assessment.
From the beta test of more than 100 churches, here are some numbers:
The average score was 70.63%.
Challenge: Make a goal to improve by 10 points in the next 6 months, then retake the assessment 6 months from today.
Focus and improve on the questions that get rated the lowest collectively.
These 10 questions were rated the lowest collectively. Most of our churches have opportunities to grow in our guest-friendliness by improving on these 10 things.
1. Our church has parking lot attendants that welcome people to the church year-round.
78% of church leaders admitted they do not have this. As a result, we miss out on giving a great first impression when we are not willing to greet or help guests who arrive on our campus for the first time. It’s also an excellent opportunity to answer guests’ questions before they enter our building.
2. Our church gives a generous FREE gift to its guests.
56% of church leaders admitted they do not give a free gift to their guests. Not only do we miss out on an opportunity to reflect the heart of our God through our generosity, but a gift is an excellent reminder of their experience. A gift can also be a great way to collect information from our guests, which is vital.
3. Our church has a crafted guest experience from the moment they arrive on our campus.
54% of church leaders admitted not having a crafted guest experience in their churches. Many churches assume guests are familiar with their space, language, check-in system, etc. These are false assumptions, and we ought to do everything possible to help our first-time guests feel comfortable.
4. Our church provides invite cards every Sunday.
51% of church leaders admit to not providing invite cards. According to Rich Birch, leader of UnSeminary, the number one key to church growth is invitability. Therefore, giving invite cards is vital to increase the number of guests you receive on a Sunday.
5. Our church leadership discusses guest feedback monthly to make improvements.
51% of church leaders admitted to not meeting monthly to discuss the feedback to make improvements. If our intention is to grow by receiving more guests, it is important stewardship to schedule regular discussions about our guest’s experiences.
6. Our church has a strategy to send a handwritten thank you to first-time givers.
50% of church leaders admitted they don’t have a strategy to send a handwritten thank you to first-time givers. Sending a handwritten note, especially from pastoral leadership, is a low-time investment that pays big dividends. It gives a nice extra touch and proves to our guests how valuable they are to us.
7. Our church gathers feedback from its guests.
47% of church leaders admitted to not gathering feedback from their guests. Guests have fresh eyes and can help reveal blind spots to us. You may find that church leaders rated themselves way higher than guests in certain areas. For reference, a few of the questions that church leaders rated themselves highly were:
- they felt their worship services were welcoming, their sermons were clear and relatable
- their worship is authentic
- they don’t use insider language
- their worship experiences were easy for guests to participate in from start to finish.
I’ve guest preached and secret-shopped at enough churches to know that not all those things are true. Guests are really the best ones to ask those questions.
8. Our church follows up promptly with its guests within the first 24 hours.
43% of church leaders admitted this wasn’t a reality for them. For as much time, energy, vision casting, staff, and money we spend to get guests to attend, if someone actually gives you their information, it would be a lost opportunity to not follow up fast and well with your guests.
9. Our church knows how to identify guests.
36% of church leaders admitted to not being able to identify guests. Creating a guest experience, offering a gift to guests, and establishing a particular area for guests are ways churches can help identify guests. It’s essential to identify guests and develop ways to receive their information so we can continue to grow.
10. Our church provides weekly content that our people share.
34% of church leaders admitted not providing content throughout the week. Living in a digital age offers us opportunities to give our people something to share with potential future guests and provide future guests with a front-door experience before they ever step foot in our physical building. “Seeing inside” before stepping inside allows a higher comfort level when guests visit for the first time.