Bad Experiences

I saw this video posted on Imagine Church‘s Facebook page last month and thought it was brilliant.

What are you doing to avoid giving guests at your church a “Bad Experience?” I remember when I was dating my wife, I attended church with her family while visiting them on my off days while on tour. I sat next to my fiancĂ©e in the hard wooden pews, while waiting for the service to begin. The pastor took the stage after worship and asked if anyone had brought a guest. I was quickly identified as a guest and asked to stand. This was a horrible first impression. I was a pastor’s kid, I had been in church all my life, but this went too far.

There is a fine line in church between making a guest feel welcomed and making them feel awkward. Like a sales person at a store, some people want left alone while they shop, while others would like you to lead them around and show them what they want. It takes a special group of greeters/ushers to tell the difference and allow people to feel comfortable. I am one of those people who would rather find my seat in the back than have an usher escort me to a spot in the middle of a row down front. That is just me, there is nothing wrong with asking for help either. The key as church leaders is to train our welcome teams to be helpful and not overbearing. Allow new guest to get acclimated on their own terms.

I have seen churches with multiple levels of greeters, allowing people to seek out the kind of welcome that makes them feel the most comfortable. Many people are coming into church with preconceived ideas about what they’ll experience. Whether that comes from years of being dragged to church as a child, or seeing it done poorly at another church, people bring their bad experience baggage with them. Help them to leave it at your doorstep this Sunday. Give them an experience they’ll tell their friends about.

What’s a bad experience you’ve had? Share it with me below.

(The video above is property of Imagine Church; they own all rights to it.)

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