Recently I was reading a blog post of Thomas Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources and he was responding to questions about how to have the most impact on guests who come to your church. He listed out seven questions you could ask people who come as guests on a Sunday morning. I thought they were very helpful questions so I thought I would list them here to consider:
1. “Thank you for being here.” It’s just that basic. I have heard from numerous church guests who returned because they were simply told “thank you.”
2. “Let me help you with that.” If you see someone struggling with umbrellas, young children, diaper bags, purses, and other items, a gesture to hold something for them is a huge positive. Of course, this comment is appropriate for member to member as well.
3. “Please take my seat.” I actually heard that comment twice in a church where I was speaking in the Nashville area. The first comment came from a member to a young family of five who were trying to find a place to sit together.
4. “Here is my email address. Please let me know if I can help in any way.” Of course, this comment must be used with discretion, but it can be a hugely positive message to a guest.
5. “Can I show you where you need to go?” Even in smaller churches, guests will not know where to find the nursery, restrooms, and small group meeting areas. You can usually tell when a guest does not know where he or she is to go.
6. “Let me introduce you to ___________.” The return rate of guests is always higher if they meet other people. A church member may have the opportunity to introduce the guest to the pastor, other church staff, and other members of the church.
- “Would you join us for lunch?” I saved this question for last for two reasons. First, the situation must obviously be appropriate before you offer the invitation. Second, I have seen this approach have the highest guest return rate of any one factor. What if your church members sought to invite different guests out to lunch 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge.
(Reproduced from Thomas Rainer’s blog post on May 20, 2015)
These are basically just common sense questions, but often ones we don’t think of until the opportune time has passed. These are questions that will make any guest feel more comfortable and will open doors much wider for the possibility of a return visit. Question number seven is one of the most important in my opinion. When a guest is invited out for lunch, even if they are unable to do so, it has a profound impact on the likelihood of them coming back again. They feel cared for and noticed. All of these questions tend to communicate the same thing....Care! You want them here....You want them to feel comfortable. You basically want them to experience Christ as a result of coming to our church.
As we begin a new year I want to challenge us all to look for ways to come out of ourselves and express Christ to one another and especially to people who are guests with us. Let’s make it our goal to come out of ourselves and be used of God to draw people into the life of Christ and Christian community that is so much a part of our daily lives. In essence let’s purpose to be an others centered community of believers committed to caring for the ‘stranger’ among us. Some of these guests may just be looking for a church to be a part of, and some may be unbelievers needing to hear the gospel and seeing it demonstrated in a tangible way. Whatever the case you can have a life changing, eternal impact on others through a simple act of caring. Let’s be a people who are unafraid to ask a question that could change a life!
Here’s to a new year of reaching out to guests!