I recently looked at my file of church guest “exit interviews.” These files originated when I did a lot of church consulting, but it also includes some recent consults.
In essence, my team asked guests to attend a worship service on the same day to get their immediate impressions of the church. Among those who had a positive experience, we heard a pattern of recurring themes. Here are the top ten responses in order of frequency. Each item is followed by a direct quote from a guest.
- People introduced themselves to the guests. “Several people introduced themselves to me. I did not get the impression it was either contrived or routine.”
- Someone asked the guest to sit with her. “You know, as a single person, I can feel pretty lonely sitting by myself. I am so glad Joanie asked me to sit with her. We plan to get together for coffee.”
- There was clear signage. “From the parking lot to the children’s area to the worship center, everything was clearly marked. It was sure easy to get around.”
- There was a clearly-marked welcome center. “It made it real easy for me to ask questions and to get some information on the church.”
- The kids loved the children’s area. “My kids were so happy with their experiences. We will be back for sure.”
- The children’s area was secure and sanitary. “That is one of the first things I check when I go to a church. This church gets an A+!”
- Guest parking was clearly visible. “From the moment we drove on the parking lot, I could find the guest parking. It was marked very well.”
- The church did not have a stand and greet time. “My wife and I just moved to the area and are visiting churches. If we visit one with that fake stand and greet time, we don’t return.”
- The members were not pushy. “They seemed to really care about us rather than just making us another number on the membership roll.”
- The guest card was simple to complete. “Some of the cards in other churches ask for too much information. This one was perfect and simple.”
A happy guest will likely be a returning guest. A returning guest is more likely to become a part of the church.
How does your church treat its guests? Let me hear from you.