How to Improve First Time Visitor Experience

We all want to see new visitors come to our church, get planted, and flourish, but we easily forget what it’s like being a first-time visitor to a new church.  They’ve never been here before so they don’t know what to expect, what to do, where anything is, what the service will be like, and so on.

Take a quick walk through

When you’ve been in any place for a long time, you begin to become blind to things around you that would be obvious to a first time visitor.  Thinks like paint and décor, old dusty plants, are the floors really clean?  So just take a walk through with a visitors eyes, and think about what could be improved, freshened up.

Make sure friendly people are welcoming everyone

Visitors first impressions are critical, so make sure their first contact is with a friendly, smiling greeter.  Have the greeter ask if this is their first visit, introduce themselves, and offer to show them around, answer any questions, etc…  Make sure you don’t just point, but escort them to where they need to go.  Just do your best to make sure they have a great first experience.

Make sure you’re using visitor-friendly language

Keep in mind that new visitors may not be familiar with “churchy” words like redemption, transgressions, etc..  It may be ok to use words like that, just be sure to explain them or give examples.  Don’t just assume everyone thinks and talks like you do.

Have a short “FAQ”, or “About our services” sheet

Have some information at your guest services or info desk that explains a little about your services and why you do what you do.  This could include worship, prayer, communion, prayer, alter call, etc..  It’s a good chance to briefly address some common questions like:

  • What do we mean by “salvation”?
  • What’s the juice and crackers for?
  • What do you have for my kids?
  • You might want to include a three-sentence summary of the gospel as well.

Just, be sure to keep it brief and informative, rather than long and tract like. Visitors don’t read anything that’s long. Try for two lines max for any given definition, one page for the entire handout.

Keep the services moving along

We live in a fast paced world, and people will start to tune-out when any segment of the service goes too long.  I know we feel like we have to get every song, every announcement, every point into the service, but when you keep it short and awesome, people we leave wanting more!