As I continue to visit churches, I see a lot of importance placed on having greeters in place once you arrive at the facility to insure you have at least two points of contact with people as you enter. Many people say that people make a decision about the church within a few moments of entering the church, thus the importance of a quality greeter ministry.
I’d like to propose that 1st time visitors receive their first impression well before they enter the shadows of the doors of your facility. Continue reading
I recently posted on question on FaceBook asking people how they would explain the Christmas spirit. Several different people responded with different answers. Most dealing with an attitude of selflessness and love.
I do remember a time decades ago when I was overcome by the Christmas Spirit, but I have to admit, that I have not had the “Christmas Spirit” for several years. This year I sensed the Christmas Spirit more than I have in a long time and I think I know why. As I pondered the Christmas Spirit this season, this is how I would describe the “Christmas Spirit”.
Gifts left for a family on Christmas Eve, sharing the Christmas Spirit
Let me shock some people and say that it has “nothing” to do with the birth of Jesus. It is an overwhelming, inexplicable joy that embraces you and all of the symbols, songs, TV specials, etc give you a warm feeling inside. Nothing can get you down and you see warmth and happiness everywhere. When you say “Merry Christmas”, it isn’t making a religious statement, but it is sharing the love and warmth of the season. Giving gifts, sending Christmas cards and the like becomes an outpouring of that love and not an obligation.
So why doesn’t everyone experience this Christmas spirit? Here are some things that I think are Christmas spirit “killers”:
- Schedule – People can get busy, over-scheduled so that Christmas is just another busy day. Even serving in a church, planning the various Christmas services and programs can rob one of the Christmas Spirit. Having Christmas last more than just the one day helps people embrace the Christmas Spirit.
- Finances – The holidays puts pressure on people to give gifts, especially to children. When finances are tight, or non-existent, to purchase gifts, people are unable to show love to others in that way and robs them of the spirit as they feel inadequate.
- Relationships – especially if you’ve lost a loved one around the holidays. All types of relationship changes can be Christmas Spirit killers. Divorce, separation, a disagreement with another family member, and more which makes the holidays different than others as you spend them alone, missing time with family.
- The “War” on Christmas – When we spend too much time declaring the need to keep Christ in Christmas that we forget that it is a time to share His love to others.
Ultimately, I think the Christmas Spirit comes from the Holy Spirit as it gives us hope for the future, which was fulfilled by the child born in a manger. Also as it shows us how we should really love one another.
So how about you? How would you define “Christmas Spirit”?What are some other Christmas Spirit “killers” and when was the last time you truly had the “Christmas Spirit”?
Does your church have a designated parking space for first time guests? Do guests actually use that space? How well does your church recognize and follow-up with 1st time guests?
I generally will not park in a 1st time guest space on a Sunday morning, even if I am a first time guest. I feel like if you park in that space, then you put a “bulls-eye” on yourself and you get the “royal treatment” as a guest. At one church, it appeared as if there were two people watching for people parking in the visitor spots. Since I was familiar with the church, I did not park there so I do not know what would have happened if we did. Continue reading
Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to visit several different churches. I have attended churches where I have a connection (I know others who attend). One needs to keep in mind that “blanket” statements are never good, but as I attended these various churches, I saw some common threads.
1. Greeters – Every church had someone waiting at the door to greet you. The secondary layer was another person inside ready to greet you and hand you a bulletin.
2. Casual Attendance – I don’t mean people who come once in a while. In every church, without fail, as the service begins, the room is empty and as the service continues, people begin to enter and the room fills up in about 15 minutes.
3. They struggle with how to connect with first time visitors – Of the churches I attended, at this point, only one did it well. Most encourage you to complete a contact card and place it in the offering plate as it passes. I like this format, though often ample time to complete the card is not given. This method allows one to provide the info they want and “participate” in the offering as the plate is passed. The struggle also comes with how to follow up with the firs time visitor.
4. They send mixed signals – In almost all of the churches, the one presenting the message would encourage people to open their Bibles, and then proceed to display the verse on the “big screen”. Why should I open, or even bring, my Bible if you’re going to show it to me anyway?
5. Visitors are often “invisible” – I find this true in “larger churches” (churches with greater than 200 adults attending on a Sunday morning or more than one service). While they claim that relationships are important, except for the greeters, seldom did anyone introduce themselves to us, and often passed by without even a “general” acknowledgement. Smaller churches are more apt to know who the visitors are on a given day and can acknowledge them easier.
I may comment more on some of these items in future posts. What are some common threads that you see in churches?