Back when we were searching for a church home, when we travel to visit family or when we are in a new church for any reason, I am often surprised how inaccessible churches can be to new guests. And you know what’s worse? As church leaders, sometimes we just don’t see it or we’ve stopped noticing. At my church, I know the system, I know the building layout and I know who to ask for the answers. I have no idea what it’s like for someone who has just walked in the door for the first time.
So this week, I dare you to walk around your building with the lens of a new guest.
Are systems clear? Are kid’s drop off and pick up procedures explained? How will I know if my child has a problem during the service? Can I take my coffee into the service with me? Where did you get that donut?
Is the building accessible for guests? Are restrooms labeled? How about the auditorium? How do I find my way back to the entrance from here? Are we meeting in the narthex, because I have no idea what you mean by that. Really.
Is insider language a problem? Did you explain what a life group/home group/small group is? Did you explain that acronym you just used? Did you ask me to find Jan after the service to sign up? By the way, who’s Jan?
Take time to walk the halls when the church is empty and do it again on a Sunday morning. Ask a friend to visit your church like a secret shopper and give you feedback. Check in with guests and volunteers to find commonly asked questions. If you haven’t done this recently, I bet you’ll find something to update. And, then come back here so we can swap stories, because I guarantee you will see something I miss.
What have you changed to make your church more accessible for the unchurched? What do you need to change?
Post contributed by Heidi Tarin, HGC Communications Catalyst.