How to: Retain Church Visitors

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: Why would someone come to my church over another? If you’re the only church of your denomination in the area, that answer might seem easy. However, with the wealth of online media and streamed services, thousands of other church services are available in their living rooms.

Just because you have the truth, doesn’t mean it’s inviting.

One of the key components to retaining visitors (and even members) is something called the user experience. This is especially important when you are trying to attract younger generations. The User Experience is how you church is perceived. Is it easy to find bathrooms, Sabbath School classrooms, the Sanctuary, the Fellowship hall? What even is the Fellowship Hall? Is the atmosphere pleasant? Are the people friendly? Today, we are going to dive into what can help your user experience go from uncomfortable to vibrant.

  1. Who is your church geared toward?
    • What age group enjoys your service most?
    • Is it primarily for already-members or is the service geared toward visitors?
    • Is the church user-friendly or visitor friendly?
    • Do you consider people different from yourself when setting up programs, renovations, and changes?
  2. What is the parking lot experience?
    • What is their experience driving up to the church?
    • Is it attractive on the outside?
    • Does it look like people are there at the time the website says it opens?
    • Did someone greet them in the parking lot?
  3. What is their front door experience?
    • Did someone open the door for them?
    • Does the door look inviting?
  4. What is the Lobby experience? Ask yourself:
    • Is someone displaying aggressive friendliness? Were they cheerfully greeted and immediately engaged in conversation?
    • Did someone get their name and contact info?
    • Does everyone have name-tags on?
    • Are there signs telling them where to go?
    • Does the lobby tell me that this church a.) expects visitors and b.) is prepared for them? Or do I feel like they are not prepared for me as a visitor?
    • Are they smiling?
    • Did I get a bulletin?
    • Do they help me know what is going on?
  5. How is their Sabbath School experience?
    • Does the class talk about church politics?
    • Do we wander off topic?
    • Is it easy to find the Sabbath School room?
    • Is it an environment where guests have the opportunity to speak up?
    • Is each one greeted when they enter?
  6. Interlude (between Sabbath School and Church) Experience
    • Does anyone greet me?
    • Do they talk to me?
    • Do I get an invitation to sit with anyone?
    • Do I get the sense they care about me?
    • Has anyone invited me to lunch?
  7. What is their Worship Service Experience like?
    • Are people smiling?
    • Do people enjoy going here?
    • Is the service user-friendly?
    • Does the technology work?
    • Is the sermon relevant to me?
  8. What happens with visitors after the service?
    • Did I get an enthusiastic invitation to lunch?
    • Did multiple people speak to me?
    • Are they excited to see me?
    • Do they want me here?
    • Do I feel like “one of them” already?
    • Did anyone invite me back?
  9. What was the after Sabbath follow-up?
    • Did someone follow up?
    • Did I get an invitation to the mid-week events?

Ask yourself the question: Am I going the extra mile for the visitors in my church?