Things To Say To Visitors

I came across this article today that I believe is a good reminder to us about how we can impact the visitors that come each week.  God allows us to see visitors each week and if we will continue to love them as well as go the extra step to build relationships with them, we could see an increase in how many guests we see coming back.

Here is the article by Thom Rainer:

One of the more common questions I’m asked relates to growth barriers. For example, church leaders may want to know how to move past the 150-attendance level of the past five years. Or other leaders desire to know how to break though financial giving barriers.

Those questions are tough because they often presume a brief response to be adequate. In reality, there are many theological and methodological issues at work in growth barriers. Today, I am looking at a very basic barrier: lack of friendliness to church guests.

In a previous blog post, I noted things we should not say to a guest in our worship services. In today’s post I look at the positive perspective: seven things we should say to guests.

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.

7. “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 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge.

Let’s look at one example of breaking attendance barriers by saying the right things to guests. Presume your church has two first-time guests a week. Over the course of a year, the church would have 100 first-time guests. With most of the members being genuinely guest friendly, you could see half of those guests become active members. Attendance could thus increase by as much as 50 persons every year.

Good interaction with guests is a huge step toward breaking attendance barriers, but it is obviously not the only step. We are launching a new subscription ministry called Church Answers. One of the three resources you will get every month is called “Breaking Barriers.”

Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit

Sunday’s Coming

It’s Good Friday, the day we remember the brutal death of Jesus Christ.  He willingly laid down His life that we might have redemption from our sins.  It is called Good Friday because of the good that came out of His death.  It was on this Friday that they laid Him in a tomb.  The Savior was dead!  But as the famous preacher once said, “It’s Friday! But Sunday’s comin!”

Repost – Changing Sweettarts

Here is a repost of the number 2 article on life of a pastor blog. It’s still get hits after 6 years.

I am finally coming out with something that has been bothering me for years.  It has to do with candy.  I love candy.  But for the last five years the candy makers have made some changes that I am not happy about.  For some reason they thinking every body likes sour apple flavor.  Sour apple does not belong in a box with other flavored candies.  I am okay with sour apple Jolly Ranchers by themselves, but don’t mess with my box of Sweet Tarts.  I love Sweet Tarts!  This is one of my all-time favorite candies along with Skittles.  Both of these candy makers replaced the traditional beautifully flavored green candy with a sour apple flavor.  I am ticked off because of that.  I don’t want sour apple I want whatever the green flavor was before.  The problem is I love Sweet Tarts so I am not going to stop eating them because they throw in a sour apple.  I will just not eat that one.

There is a good change that Sweet Tarts has made though.  It is the blue sweet tart.  That is my favorite Sweet Tart.  I can over look the sour apple as long as the blue one is in there.  As a matter of fact, the blue ones are the ones that they have the least in the box, but I still like the blue ones.  In Sweet Tarts defense, they made a good decision in making the blue ones, even if I am not happy about the green change.  Some changes are good and some are bad.

To be honest, no body likes change.  I don’t like change…I like the familiar and you are probably the same way.  The truth is things must change.  There are some changes we like, some we don’t but we must overlook the ones we might not like and focus on the ones we do like. 

In the church world, change is a necessary part of preparing for the future.  I am not a proponent of just throwing away anything old.  I believe we can add to what has already been done.  However, there might be things that need to change because they aren’t working.  Even if we cannot see it.  For the future and building a church for the generations, we must allow God to lead us to the changes He feels necessary for our church.  We cannot focus on one thing (the sour apple) but on the whole picture of what God is doing and wants to do.

Thinking of the candy makers.  It wasn’t a conspiracy because they knew I didn’t like sour apple.  The truth is there are probably more people that like sour apple than don’t.  I am just picky with my candy.  I challenge you to evaluate things by the big picture not just the sour apples.