10 Things Church Visitors Never Want to Hear

10 Things Church Visitors Never Want to Hear

There are 10 things church visitors never want to hear, so why not help our church folks learn NOT to say them?

You’ve been a church visitor at some point, right?

Ever heard something you wish you didn’t hear, right off the bat?

I’ve got a few nobody really wants to hear. Some I’ve heard personally. Others I’ve heard as they were told to someone else.

10 statements church visitors never want to hear:

1. Our pastor isn’t normally this ________.

Insert whatever you want in this blank: loud, obnoxious, offensive, long-winded.

If you have to explain part of your pastor’s style because you know outsiders won’t like it, you’ve got a problem. Talk with your pastor about that.

2. We’re full. Sorry.

Always have a backup plan. Always.

If someone sees your service is full once, they’ll deal with it. But they probably won’t come back if they don’t see a plan you have in place.

3. What are you doing here?

Never say this. Never. Your shocked, open mouth reveals your judgmental spirit…at least in the eyes of visitors.

When you say this, all they can think is, “God couldn’t really love someone like you.”

4. You can’t serve now…you’ve got to be a member first.

Why would someone want to become a member if they’ve never had the chance to serve?

5. We don’t believe in serving coffee on Sunday mornings.

If you say this, I can only assume you are leading a church in the pit of Hell.

6. What’s your address? I didn’t catch it on the first six forms I had you fill out.

Try to streamline the “first-time visitors check-in process.”

Nobody likes to feel like they’re visiting HR on their first church visit.

7. You want to join a small group? You’ll have to wait until next fall.

If you ask people to wait more than a month to join community, they’ll often look elsewhere.

8. Here we just care about the Truth. If you don’t like it, you can leave.

I get it. You love the Bible. You love preaching the Truth.

But don’t love that more than you love people.

9. Here are the 38 things we do each week as a church.

Simplifying is the key, otherwise you’ll give people decision paralysis.

10. Next time, could you make sure to wear ________.

Fill that in with “something nicer,” “something more relaxed” or “something that’s clean,” and you’ve offended someone unnecessarily.

Creating a “come as you are” culture should be our aim, not creating a “come as I am” culture.

Got anything you’d add? 

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Ben Reed
Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.

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