On November 1, 2014, I wrote a blog post about ten ways churches drive away first-time guests. You can read the article here. Those top ten ways came from an informal Twitter poll. I was surprised by the number of responses we received for both the poll and the blog post.
Of course, there were many more responses than the original ten. I have saved the other responses for nearly a year. The ten items I list below actually represent the second ten most frequent responses. From my perspective, these second-tier responses are somewhat of a surprise. They might be, nevertheless, helpful to you and your church. Each of the ten items has a representative comment.
- The congregation was old. “When I looked at the age of those attending, I knew there wouldn’t be anything there for my children.”
- There was clutter everywhere. “The church building looked like a Goodwill store for Bibles, books, umbrellas, and clothes. I did not want to return.”
- People were gathered in cliques talking to each other. “I could tell before the service that I didn’t belong to their club.”
- People got the aisle seats first. “I had to climb over eight people to get a seat. They seemed disgusted I was there.”
- There was inadequate signage for people with small children. “From the parking lot to the front door to the preschool area, I had no idea where to go. It was frustrating.”
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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.