8 Reasons Why People Aren’t Coming Back

As a secret shopper or mystery worshiper of churches around the country, I’ve found there are some reasons that I will tell a church I would not return for a second visit, and some may be news to you. Whether I’m working with a church plant of 60 people or a megachurch of over 15,000, some things are universal and should be present regardless of church size.

Throughout this post, we’ll look at actions and areas every church needs to address.

1. The Front Door

Before a guest ever steps foot on your church’s physical campus, he or she has probably already checked out your church website.

What every church should have clearly visible on their homepage is a section or button for first-time guests. Once clicked on, this should take you to a page that addresses FAQs, service times, directions, parking instructions (is there a side of the building that is better to park on if one has kids?), what to expect (upbeat music and relevant, practical, biblical preaching in a come as you are atmosphere, etc.), what to wear (are jeans OK? are shorts OK?), and encouragement for them to be sure to stop by Guest Central or your church’s Information Booth to pick up a first-time guest packet.

2. What Stinks?

It’s important that no church ever underestimates the sense of smell. While sight is the strongest sense for short-term memory, the sense of smell is the strongest and most vivid for long-term memories.

If you’ve ever smelled something and had memories you hadn’t thought of in years come flooding back, that’s your sense of smell in action.

Every church has the potential for positive or negative smells. Mold is a bad smell. Coffee is a good smell. Bleach is a bad smell. Citrus is a good smell. Many churches have restrooms that are disgusting and smell bad. This lack of attention to detail can be costly and discourage many from ever returning.

As best you can, try to walk into the lobby or entrance of your church with a new nose.

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Greg Atkinson
Greg Atkinson is an author, speaker, consultant, and the Founder of the First Impressions Conference and Worship Impressions—both specializing in guest services and hospitality.

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