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How to Get Guests to Return: Practical Ways to Welcome Visitors

How to Get Guests to Return: Watch Your Words

Words carry lots of weight. Do you tend to say the phrases below? If so, you may want to adjust.

Avoid saying: “Enjoy the service.”
Interpretation: You’re a spectator. Sit back and watch. It’s not about you.
Instead say: “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re part of the service today.”

Avoid asking: “Are you new here?”
Interpretation: I don’t know you. Even if you’ve been here 20 years, you’re not important.
Instead say: “Hey, I’m ______ (name). I don’t think I’ve had the privilege of meeting you yet.”

Avoid saying:
“Hey Brother/Sister so-and-so…”
Interpretation: We’re family. You’re not.
Instead: Use first names.

Avoid saying: “Thanks for visiting today.”
Interpretation: “You’re an outsider.”
Instead say: “We’re honored to have you as our guest.”

Avoid saying: “You need a security tag when you pick up your child.”
Interpretation: We’re in charge, and you must follow our rules.
Instead say: “The security tag helps ensure children are safe. Please bring your part of the tag for pickup.”

Avoid saying: “Sorry.”
Interpretation: We’re impersonal.
Instead say: “I apologize.”

Avoid saying: “I don’t know.”
Interpretation: I don’t care, and I’m too lazy to find the answer.
Instead say: “That’s a great question. Let me find out for you.”

Avoid saying: “You did not…”
Interpretation: It’s all your fault, and we want you to know you messed up.
Instead say: “Let me help you…”

Avoid saying: “Go down that hallway. Take a left. Go upstairs. Take a right at the water fountain…”
Interpretation: You’re not important enough for me to leave this spot. Good luck. You’re on your own.
Instead say: “I’d be honored to walk with you there.”

Avoid saying: “Let me try to help you.”
Interpretation: I may or may not be able to accommodate you.
Instead say: “I can help you.”

5 Questions New Families Ask at Church

While pondering how to get guests to return, remember these 5 questions that are top-of-mind for all visitors.

1. Where Do I Go?

First, remember what it’s like to walk into a new place? You don’t know where to go, where to drop off your kids, where to find a restroom, etc.


  • Have clearly marked guest parking. Then make it the best parking on the lot. Have parking lot attendants guide guests into this area. Have an entrance sign that says, “Guests, turn on your hazard lights for reserved parking.”
  • Provide clearly marked outside signage.
  • Have greeters at each door.
  • Have hosts that help guests get checked in and personally walk them to the right areas.