Getting your building and grounds ready
Going to a new church is awkward and it takes a lot of courage. It’s like going to another family’s Thanksgiving dinner. You may know all about Thanksgiving dinners already, but they’re all a little different. Sure there’s turkey, but maybe they have roast potatoes instead of mashed or that terrible green bean dish with the crunchy things on top. And you don’t know which uncle to avoid or which cousin is a narcissistic blowhard. The point is, going to a church for the first time is ripe for many things to go wrong and it won’t take much to make sure they never come back.
Our churches need to be attractive places (building, property, people, music, liturgy and hospitality). It’s easy for us to stop seeing the unattractive, but newcomers will notice it right away – and becoming part of the church isn’t meant to be a hazing ritual.
Which of these Happy House Chinese restaurants would you be more likely to choose?
Which one does your church more closely resemble?
Here are some things to consider addressing before any visitors ever show up:
- Are restrooms clean with ample supplies?
- Are there lights out?
- Are floors clean, carpets vacuumed and all in good repair?
- Are there items stashed in corners of the sanctuary or common areas?
- Do you have old and outdated materials laying around?
- Are doors and windows clean?
- Are signs in the building clear (are there signs?)
- Is the landscape neat and in good order?
- Are there any odd smells?
And on Sunday mornings, there are things we can do to make the visit better and make it more likely someone will return
- Are there greeters at each entrance?
- Do you have items for kids? (most people won’t send their kids to the nursery or Sunday School on their first visit)
- Do you have enough bulletins on hand?
- Do you have information about the church to hand out to all visitors?
- Are the people trained and encouraged to help visitors through the service?
- Are there plentiful pew items?
- Do you explicitly invite to coffee hour?
- Are visitors thanked and invited back?
Download Buildings and Grounds Checklists