A Major Sign Guests Won’t Return To Your Church

What is the number one reason people come back to a church after the first visit? The answer may surprise you. First, a quick story to set up this post.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was speaking at a youth service in our area. I wanted to support him — so I attended the service. When I got to the church, there were no directional signs anywhere! The church building was a massive old baptist church. It was like a maze. There were many parked cars, but no greeters, parking team or signage. I wandered around the hallways for a while trying to listen to where the people were. It was a youth service, so I assumed they weren’t in the sanctuary, but that was the only place I heard people.

I sheepishly opened the door to the sanctuary and to my surprise the entire crowd was looking my direction. The door I entered was next to the stage! I looked at everyone and instantly felt great embarrassment. I stood there for what felt like eternity and then awkwardly waved, backed up and closed the door. I felt horrible that I interrupted their service. I had to quickly move on from my embarrassment to find the youth group to hear my friend preach.

The only place I hadn’t checked was upstairs. I walked up a flight of stairs and wandered through Sunday School classrooms. After inspecting the first floor, I decided to check out the second floor — at this point I was committed. However, the students weren’t on the second floor…

The students were on the third floor. The room they were meeting in was behind a very heavy door. I could hear teenagers, but because of my earlier embarrassment I didn’t want to open the door. I stood outside for five minutes trying to muster the courage to open the door. I finally walked in and arrived just in time to hear my friend preach. He did an excellent job, but there is no way I would come back to that church. If I was a parent of a teenager, I wouldn’t have left my teen there.

That brings us to the number one thing that brings people back to a church after a first time visit.

The number one reason people come back to a church is because of comfort. If someone feels awkward, uncomfortable, unwelcome, or confused they will check out before the sermon is preached. Click To Tweet


Now, this doesn’t mean we water down the truth of Scripture. Scripture can be offensive. But that should be the only thing offensive about our services.

One simple thing you can do to bring comfort is think through signage for your church. Where do first time guests park? Where are the bathrooms at your church? Where should a first time guests sit? Where does a guest check in their kids?

Adding signage is a simple way we show we care about our guests. Help them know where to go. If they feel comfortable and welcomed, their mind will be at a better place to hear the truth of God’s word.

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