I recently moved to Nashville. A move to a new city also meant searching for a new church home. Since I have served on church staff, I’d not had the experience of searching for a church home since college. As I visited churches, I kept thinking of families in our kids’ ministries. What are their experiences when they visit a church for the first time? During my visits, I noted three simple actions that made a big difference in my experience as a guest.
- Correct Information Matters. Does your church’s website and print material include up-to-date information? Different start times for ministries and different locations for a class listed can be confusing to a guest. Regularly review published information to ensure all content is correct.
- Signs Can Make a Big Difference. Think from the perspective of someone who has never been to your church. More than likely, they won’t know where to park, where the worship center is, where their kid’s class is, or where their class is. Clearly labeled signs help guests easily identify parking, the worship center, and classrooms. The best experience is for a church member to personally walk with the guest and help her find the worship center and classrooms.
- Following-Up and Connecting With Guests Is Important. When a guest shares her information, she foresees receiving contact from the church. Does your church have a process of utilizing the information to connect with guests? Many churches have a process of following up with guests after their first church visit. Few churches continue to follow up after their second or third visit. Connecting again after a return visit allows them time to connect with members. It gives an opportunity to ask questions after learning more about the church. Most importantly, the genuine contact communicates the church wants to get to know the guest and be a part of the church.
What steps does your kids’ ministry need to take to help guests feel welcome and have a great experience? Place a priority on making them feel welcome. If a guest doesn’t feel welcomed or connect with members in the church, it’s likely she won’t return. We want guests to get connected, join the church, and grow in their relationship with Christ.
Delanee Williams serves as a Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Kids. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee has served in kids ministry for over twenty years and is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders.