Monday, October 23, 2006


Most churches believe that they are friendly. I would say that our church, for instance, is friendly. However, if we were to survey the visitors who attend CTK, we might find a totally opposite perception. Gary McIntosh suggests several practical guidelines to help churches be more friendly to newcomers:

1. Give guests the best attitude.

People appreciate a friendly attitude from greeters and ushers, especially when they are visitors. People often make judgments about how welcome they feel within the first 30 seconds of entering the front door. So we must project enthusiasm, courtesy and pride to our guests as their first impression.

2. Give guests the best communication.

McIntosh suggests that churches adopt the "10 Foot Rule" and the "Just Say Hi Policy." That is, whenever we come within 10 feet of a person that we don't know we should at least say “Hi.”

3. Give guests the best service.

From parking spaces to the information center we should attempt to give guests the best service. But we all need to become involved in carrying out three principles of friendliness: 1. Approach new people promptly. 2. Offer help and information. 3. Introduce them by name to others.

4. Give guests the best welcome.

Welcoming guest – either in print in the weekly program, or as an announcement from the front is an important part of our friendliness. But it doesn't hurt for each of us to repeat that welcome personally when we see guests.

5. Give guests the best seats.

The most popular seats on an airplane are the isle seats. People like to have a sense of openness rather that one of being trapped. Likewise, guests prefer the isle seats and the seats in the rear of the auditorium. However, that's the exact place most regular attenders like to sit! If we really want to be friendly, we should scoot into the middle of the pew and leave the best seats for guests.

6. Give guests the best time.

McIntosh suggests that friendly congregations adopt the "Five Minute Rule." That is, we reserve the first five minutes after the close of a service to attempt to meet and speak with our guests. We should not do any church business or talk with our friends until five minutes has elapsed. This helps our guests to know that they are our first priority.

Albert Einstein was once asked what he considered to be the most important question in the world. He replied, "Is the universe a friendly place?" Guests who visit our church are asking a similar question. The answer to the question may alter their eternal destiny. Our friendliness is important.

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