Whenever Ellen and I have an opportunity to visit another church we like to play the “Friendly Game.” What we do is stand in the back of the meeting room and look confused, which comes more easily for me than it does for Ellen. We then keep track how many times someone says hi to us. Greeters don’t count because that’s their job. The “Stand up and greet someone.” times only barely counts because you’ve been told to do it. The pastor or the pastor’s spouse don’t count because they get paid to be friendly.
I’m amazed at how many churches fail the Friendly Game. I also find it interesting how many pastors say their church is really, really friendly but when we visit it’s the Sunday when all the friendly ones stayed home. There are a number of reasons why Christians aren’t friendly to visitors or newcomers on Sunday, for example:
- Some are more interested in talking to their friends, which is not altogether a bad or unreasonable thing.
- Some people are just not friendly people. They’re not picking on church visitors, they’re not friendly to anyone.
- Some people are shy.
- Some don’t know what to say after, “Hi, name is Dave.”
Visitors don’t expect a lot. It doesn’t take much for a guest to feel like they’ve been warmly welcomed. Here is a simple script that anyone, even if you are a shy one, can follow when approaching a visitor.
“Hi, my name is Dave. What’s your name?”
“How did you hear about our church?”
“What do you do for a living.”
“I hope your enjoy today and I hope to see you again next week.”
If you are really brave you can pull a friend over and introduce them to the visitor.
If guests don’t feel the church was very friendly there is a good chance they will not return. This Sunday if you see two people in the back looking confused, it could be me and Ellen.
What are your thoughts?