How Can Churches Keep People Away?

I ran across the following blog that had a list of 10 Ways to Keep Me from Discovering Your Church, you can read all of the authors comments by following that link. I found it pretty interesting and I will add my comments below.

  1. Don’t have a website: This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church.
  2. Be completely inactive in the community: In fact it’s really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don’t do anything missional in your city.
  3. Don’t answer your phone: ….and don’t ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I’m lost en route to service, I’ll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.
  4. Allow misinformation
  5. Lack clear signage
  6. Have insufficient parking/seating
  7. Ignore Visitors
  8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries
  9. Be evasive about your beliefs: When I ask a direct question about the church’s beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don’t understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs.
  10. Lie to me: When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church. You might just get a few weeks of attendance out of me before I learn the truth.

  1. I really believe that having a website in this day and age is extremely important. There really is no reason for a church to not have one. Especially with there being many low cost options out there to create one. I am not sure how necessary it is to have an rss feed, but keeping it up to date is a must.
  2. This one goes with out saying and is the sad state of far too many churches today.
  3. It is amazing to think that a church would not have an answering machine and that they would not leave pertinent information on there for people who call. The idea of answering the phone on a Sunday morning is a very interesting idea that I never thought about. HMMMM
  4. Sadly sometimes churches and denominations can be so slow to update information on their websites. It is honestly not that hard to change things on a website to get it up to date.
  5. I disagree with the sign thing to some degree. Rob Bell’s church Mars Hill Bible Church has grown to over 11,000 people and they have no sign on the road. And Rob is adamant that they will never have a sign out front as long as he his the pastor there, because he wants people to understand that the church is not a building, but people. On the other hand, if people can’t find the place how can the attend? I guess that is why you need your people to help reach into the community and bring their friends. Makes that all the more important.
  6. People who visit a church will not stop if they can not easily find a place to park. I have always encouraged people at the churches where I have been a pastor to makes sure they save the prime parking spots for visitors. Visitors should find spaces to park really easily, because they are all up front and close.

    Seating is another thing will cause people to walk out of your building. If visitors can not find a place to sit easily they will just walk right out the door and not come back. Ushers should be trained to help everyone find a seat, even if they are regulars, but especially if they are visitors. And ushers shouldn’t be afraid to ask people to scoot into the middle of the row to make room for the visitors on the ends.

  7. Greeting people at the doors and noticing that if they are new and helping them find their way around. That is why there should be multiple greeters so one can leave their post and help a visitor find the bathrooms, children’s area, welcome desk, etc. They should be their personal guides until they feel comfortable. My wife and I attended a church that was horrible in this area. We went to the check in desk to register our kids and they knew that we were new because we had to fill out info to get them registered for the first time. And the people behind the desk merely pointed down a hallway and told us to go down there to drop our kids off at their classes. We found my son’s and then got to the end of the hall and couldn’t find where my daughter’s class was. The guy at the end of the hall didn’t even know where she was supposed to go. Needless to say we never went back there.
  8. There is no excuse for any church to do any of that.
  9. If you believe it state it. Don’t try to be vague just to get people in the door. That is deception and somehow I don’t think that belongs in churches.
  10. Churches will do anything to boost their numbers and lying is one of the most despicable ways to do it. No wonder why so many people stop going to church.

All in all I think this person has made some excellent points and that churches need to seriously look at what they are doing and strive to improve. Or else they are destined to keep people away.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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