7 Ways NOT to Welcome New Visitors to Your Church

🌺 Published by Brittany Ann

7 Ways NOT to Welcome New Visitors to Your Church Pin

When it comes to welcoming new visitors to your church, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, really. But having regularly attended 9+ churches and visited countless others, let me tell you–some churches definitely do a better job welcoming new visitors than others!

 

It’s kind of like dating. You can’t just go asking for their mother’s maiden name, social security number and hand in marriage all on the first date. You have to play it cool. Worried you might be doing it wrong? Here are 7 ways NOT to welcome new visitors to your church.

 

And oh yes, every single one of these has happened to me. You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

 

1. Get All of Their Contact Info As Soon as Possible

 

I’ve literally made it five feet into the door, and an elderly lady who can’t hear so well anymore is already cornering me with her address book. I’m sure you’re very sweet and all, but can I at least attend a service before I join your mailing list?

 

2. Swarm Them with the Church Directory

 

I have a copy of the bulletin, you’re listed in the phone book, and you have a website. I’m pretty sure I can get a hold of you if needed. Having five different people swarm me with copies of the church directory, everyone circling their names and numbers as I try to make my way towards the nearest exit, is sweet, but really not necessary. Really.

 

3. Expect Them to Help Out Immediately

 

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for helping out with church. I love helping out. But when I’ve attended your church three times now, and two of those times were spent in the nursery so I could have child care… I think I’ll find a church that I can actually attend on occasion…

 

4. Follow Them Out to the Parking Lot

 

I don’t know why anyone would follow someone stalker-style out to the parking lot, but this happened to me not one, not two, but THREE times! At three different churches. If we didn’t make a connection in the hour that I was there, chasing me out to the parking lot for an extra five minutes probably isn’t going to help too much either.

 

5. Show Up at Their House Unannounced

 

Okay, somehow you managed to get my contact information. I guess we made a connection. But that doesn’t mean you should randomly show up at my house. Unannounced. What is this? A hands check for grown-ups? I’d love to have you, but next time–please call first!

 

6. Parade Them in Front of the Church

 

Having someone go up in front of the church to become a member or get baptized–by all means! But requiring someone to memorize lines and go in front of the entire congregation before they can even learn more about your church–seems a little excessive, don’t you think?

 

7. Ask Them to Leave

 

I thought that the church was supposed to be a place where all are welcomed. If you’re going to ask me not to come back because my kids are noisy, because my husband smells like cigarette smoke or because I bawl every time I hear Hillsong United’s “Oceans,” I’d rather not be there anyways.

 

Have you ever attended a church that was guilty of any of these? (Or been guilty of any of them yourself?) Share your stories below!

Brittany Ann

Brittany Ann is an author, speaker, and founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping women be “all in” in faith and family.

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  1. I had a woman show up in my hospital room and invite me to church. It was only 2 days after I had major surgery. Turns out her church was having a contest on who could get the most new people to come to their services. How insulting! She then shows up at my home to try and talk me into coming to their church. It wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness member either. Also, once a man came to my door and ask me to tithe to his church. I told him I wasn’t a member. He said ” Well, we’ll just have to get you signed up then.” Really, people?

    1. Well, I suppose having a contest could be a good way to motivate otherwise shy people to get out there and talk to people, but the last comment–yeah… that’s crazy. The things people say! lol.

  2. Never had any of these happen to me, but I can just imagine a few places that might have joined in this sort of thing. Sorry you had these experiences, but maybe your knowledge will help others. May the LORD bless you.

    1. Thankfully I have been in church long enough (my entire life) to know that those experiences aren’t the norm and I can laugh them off, but I feel bad for newcomers who may not know that!

  3. I suggested ONCE our church use the bus to pick up children who would otherwise not be able to attend church. One member, also my sister in law, said “Oh no, we don’t want to do that, you never know what we’ll get in here!” I was appalled. I live in a small town and there are only two churches of my faith. I stayed at this church and taught Sunday School, Bible School, and brought whomever would come.for 33 years. She voiced her opinion on some of these unruly children. Which BTW over time, 3 of them were saved in my class. I’m sad to say I haven’t been to church in two years. I was faithful for many. I’m disillusioned with church and I know this is wrong. I’m having a hard time getting myself to go back.

    1. I know exactly who you would get — people who want to be at church. That was definitely not the right thing to say.
      BUT, but leaving the church yourself, you have increased the ratio of people like that to people like you. Your church needs you. Don’t let one silly comment deter you from your faith or deter others from getting the help and teaching they really need you to provide.
      2016 is a great year to get plugged back in!

  4. I once visited a church and asked a lady if she could move down so my friend and I could sit in the pew. She said no. Didn’t leave a good impression. She told us AFTER the service she is clausterphobic, which I understand, but I wish she would have offered to let us in the spots open in the pew. And why are pews so close together that it distrubs the entire pew when someone wants to sit in the middle? 🙂

    1. Yeah, that’s definitely a legitimate reason. Hopefully it was just a brain fart on her part! And so you can fit more people in the church of course! 😉 (But yes, I totally know what you mean! lol)

  5. My four kids went to camp with a church we were not members of. That Sunday we were invited to bring the kids to morning service so they could testify about their camp experiences with all the youth. I sat down and a few minutes later an older lady stood behind me in the isle and said, “well, now where am I going to sit?” I had “her seat” and she let me know. If I was a hurting, searching, lost person, this would have been devastating!!!! Uggg, seriously? I had heard of stuff like this happening, but I never actually expected it to happen. If I saw a visitor in my usual seat, I would be joyful and thankful, and welcome them!!

  6. I have had a friend “stalk” me at church for far too long. I, for some reason, cannot seem to find the courage to go back. She told me I always bail my daughter out and neither of my kids know what tough love is. (This isn’t my first rodeo; absolutely never heard of someone ever saying this to a mother). She then decided to phone me and say next time you go to church, don’t be afraid because they are going to talk finances(My husband is chairman of that committee). Then she would always look down her nose at me and do things that let me know I was only dirt to her. I spoke with Pastor about these things; nothing happened. She threw contracts at me and my husband and ordered us to sign them. after a service. We balled them up and threw away. It was about granting permission to have pictures printed. Right in the church website is a picture of me, that I think is unflattering (overweight). Once I did not show up at an Easter (I have had several operations and shots on my osteopathic knees) and told her why and she said but couldn’t you have made it for just one hour? She has said things to both my children and made them feel uncomfortable. I understand forgiveness, but I really don’t want this to happen again. I went to every avenue I could. I have scars from this and feel like I really didn’t make it. I have talked to a Stephens Minister, the old pastor (who didn’t want to get involved) and a couple of therapists on my own. I feel blocked and desperate. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of drama. I don’t blame you for wanting to avoid that. I’d probably go out of my way to avoid her or find a different church too. That’s crazy!

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