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Thom Rainer: How Relational Is Your Church?

Thom Rainer is a writer, researcher, speaker, and current president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Key Questions for Thom Rainer:

– Why don’t pastors realize how unwelcoming their churches are?
– What are some of the most common reasons why guests don’t return to a church?
– What do guests like to see when they visit a church?
– Can a church be too friendly?

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Key Quotes from Thom Rainer:

“Guests often say this is a friendly church if you know each other…it’s the holy huddle.”

“Friendliness takes an overt effort and even if you think your church is friendly you probably aren’t to guests.”

“Every year I would bring on at least two mystery guests…in order to see with our eyes wide open what others think of us.”

“The church’s website is now the front door…you need to think of the guest’s perspective (when designing it).”

“First opinion of visitors is website, second is when they get on site, third is when they sit down.”

“If there is a consistent issue that prevents people from coming back, it’s the relational issue.”

“If you win the parents, you are almost certain of winning the entire family and get them to come back.”

“A significant number of people like their personal space. If everyone is saying welcome to church with no emotion, it can be overkill.”

“Ask yourself, how do you like to be engaged? That’s how you should engage guests.”

Links Mentioned by Thom Rainer in the Show:

Becoming a Welcoming Church


Thom Rainer on ChurchLeaders:

Thom Rainer Reveals the Secret Pain of Pastors

Thom Rainer: “A good leader is someone who is out in front of his people, but not too far…”

Thom Rainer on Church Attendance Trends Every Leader Should Know


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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye