How a Poor Guest Experience Can Affect Your Ministry
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (NIV).
In a small town in Georgia, there was a fresh-faced pastor who was excited about changing the world. The church that he was now pastoring had “run off” the last few pastors. He thought, “This time will be different”. The church voted him in, but everyone knew the real leadership was a small group of people — a small but cantankerous group of people who were responsible for exit of previous pastors.
This pastor wanted to reach the lost, so he started preaching sermons on the Great Commission, being salt and light, and loving our neighbors. Nothing changed.
Eventually, this pastor was frustrated, broken, and left feeling defeated.
This church was dying and they just successfully ran off another young pastor. When I asked how the church felt about dying, the response I received shocked me. According to the small group, the problem was, “The world has changed and people just don’t love Jesus.” The problem, according to them, is everyone else.
It’s easy to blame others for our own issues. The truth is this:
Some will reject the Gospel because it’s offensive. At the same time, God is drawing many to Himself. The reason they have left the church is not because of the offense of the Gospel, it’s because of the offensive people. Click To Tweet
I’m not sure if you can relate to this story or not.
WHAT I DO KNOW IS THIS:
It’s easy to become so comfortable in our churches that we forget what it’s like to be an outsider.
If WE want to reach the world with the Gospel WE NEED to view coming to your church through their eyes.
WE CHANGE OUR LENS, NOT THE MESSAGE.
We make it easy for people to hear the Gospel when we remove the barriers that stop them from coming to church in the first place.
Here is a quick exercise you can take a team of volunteers, or staff through.
Set your services up like a typical Sunday. Start at the beginning of the guest experience and pretend you don’t know what to expect.
Do you know where to park?
If you have kids do you know where to check them in at?
If you have to go to the bathroom is there a sign that points to where it’s at?
When you view your service through the eyes of an outsider it changes how you do things.
People will put up with a lot when they feel safe. The number one thing that brings safety to humans is comfort.
In OUR church world, excellence brings comfort.
When we make it easy for a guest to know where to go, how to get there, and what to do next — we bring comfort to their experience.
When someone is frustrated because they don’t know where to park, where to go, or what is going on, they will check out before they hear the Gospel. As James said, “We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
When you think through the guest experience you make it easier for guests to hear the Gospel.