We’ve been doing a study on encouragement by Mattias Media over the past few months in men’s Bible study. One study has a role-play between a regular church attender and a first time visitor. Here are some of things that were identified in the study:
- Don’t let “busyness” stop you from being genuine. I’m sure many of the readers have responsibilities before church actually begins. You might be found hovering over the photocopier or warming up on a musical instrument. In our busyness – are we aware of visitors and worshippers and how do our reactions communicate the glory of God?
- Build a relationship – not a survey. A new visitor is often greeted with a series of questions like “where have you come from” or “what is your job?” Surely there are better ways to build relationship than to ask a series of interrogative questions.
- Be careful how you use jargon. There are so many quirky things about non-denominational worship. I remember attending a liturgical service at an Anglican church in Hong Kong. Every element of the service was described in the bulletin so that people would know what to expect and why things were occurring. I’m not arguing for liturgy – but for a plain service that connects our traditions with the glory of God (that’s what it’s all about).
- Be careful how you integrate visitors into the morning service. I’m not so sure about publically welcoming visitors in front of the church. Public speaking is daunting for most people and introducing yourself in front of strangers can be difficult. Perhaps it would be better to welcome people warmly and as individuals or families.
- Remember the purpose of worship. Worshipping God in a church gathering should be a reverent, joyful, Scriptural celebration of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let the focus be on God – and the emphasis on visitors will naturally flow on from that (not the other way around which can be the case in churches).