Believe me when I say that it’s harder to get a guest to come back a second time than it is the first time. You might argue with me about this, and you might be right, but certainly we agree that it’s hard to get someone back a second time. And…believe it or not, some church members aren’t really that keen on having new people join their church. They would never say this out loud (or maybe they would) but deep down they like the way things are and they don’t cherish the idea of new people messing things up. For those of you that are fortunate enough to pastor a church like this here are some ways to insure that first time guests never become second time guests.
First, you must teach your people that being ‘seeker-sensitive’, or ‘guest-sensitive’ is what those worldly churches do while watering down the gospel in order to tickly people’s ears.
Don’t feel obligated to explain too much, after all…it’s their job to figure out ‘insider talk.’ They should know who Bob is when you announce the men’s retreat he’s planning. If you do a lot of standing up and sitting down…spring it on them. It’s really funny to watch people try to coordinate this with the others so they don’t look like an oddball who’s still sitting when others are standing. If you are one of those ‘Charismatic’ churches…please, please, please don’t explain all the stuff going on when “the Spirit starts to move.” (I can say things like this because I’m a quasi-charismatic.) Oh that was funny, my auto-spell check inserted queasy for quasi. Oh well, that works to.
I’m concerned that so many churches are no longer asking guests to stand up and introduce themselves. We need to bring this back.
Encourage your people to fellowship with one another before and after the service rather than try to strike up a conversation with a visitor. After all, it’s easier to talk to someone you know rather than someone you don’t know. If someone is looking for friends they can be the one to instigate.
If your people insist on being friendly, have them be soooo friendly that it really is more creepy than friendly.
Preach ten minutes too long.
While on the subject of preaching, always preach on holiness, sin, judgment, God’s coming judgment, what’s wrong with this sinful world, what’s wrong with the liberal Christians, what’s wrong with the conservative Christians, what’s wrong with the Christians who can’t make up their minds what they believe.
Have really bad coffee.
Have the volume of your music so loud it will make their ears bleed. People love going to a church that made them bleed.
If you use hymnals, insist on those that have the print so small that the visitor has to squint and struggle to read the words and results in headache. People love going to a church that gave them a headache.
If you don’t use hymnals and are one of those ‘contemporary’ churches that uses ‘choruses’ (by the way, ‘choruses’ is an outdated way to describe those songs…please stop saying that) choose the ones that are poorly written, hard to follow, and have really strange lyrics that even your own people don’t understand, let alone those guests.
Well that’s all I’ve got for now. Maybe you can gather your leaders together and come up with some more ways to scare first time visitors away. Church is for the committed and if those people were committed they would already be in your church. Who needs them anyways…unless they tithe and are willing to work in the children’s ministry. We always need those people.