National Back to Church Sunday is September 20, 2015

Every church accepts that worship attendance is cyclical, even if they report “average” attendance to level out the numbers. A few years ago, researchers asked Pastors to track attendance and report the four highest attended services of the year. 93% said Easter Sunday has the highest attendance, followed by Christmas (84%), and Mother’s Day at 59%. The 4th highest attendance is on a day they call “other”.

I call “other” Resolution Sunday, and it happens twice a year, first on the Sunday following New Years (“My New Year’s Resolution is to go back to church”) AND this “other” oft forgotten Sunday, the Sunday before the first day of School, which always shows a spike in attendance, especially in Children’s Ministry. I attribute this rise to parents making their “Back To Church Resolutions”. Rants like “We’re going to sit down together for dinner starting tomorrow” to the ever popular “This family is getting back into the routine of going to Church and it starts RIGHT NOW!” can be heard in homes across America just before “Back to School”.

Churches, be prepared! The “Resolutionaries” are coming, and you’ve got somewhere between Two and three weeks to prepare. VBS is over, it’s time to clean up the summer supplies, recruit and train more greeters and promote your upcoming Fall programming.

1.) Be prepared for visitors. Put yourself in their shoes. Nothing is familiar to them. Do a test run as a first-timer or ask a non-church-member to test it out.

2.) Consider every negative that might thwart a return visit. Start in the parking lot and make your way back to the janitor’s closet.  What needs to be fixed, removed, reworked or dealt with, then deal with it.

3.) Schedule and station your best greeters at every entry. Put a family of greeters at the Children/Nursery entry to greet families and vivacious teens at the youth entry. The obvious “WELCOME” will be in place, but the subliminal is that the visitor knows you were expecting them and glad they’re there.

4.) Don’t forget the importance of signage. Fellowshipone.com says “The first-time visitor check-in area needs to have a sign so big that blind people feel its presence. It should shout “FIRST TIME GUESTS – CHILDREN’S REGISTRATION”. Why be subtle here? The first time visitor desk should be stationed directly below that sign.” 

5.) Don’t be budget conscious on the hospitality this week.  If you’re church serves coffee, make sure it’s good coffee, hot and in nice cups.  Put sugar packets in something cute or fancy (not in a styrofoam cup) and maybe spring for real half and half.

6.) Warn and remind your congregation that visitors are coming, and that it’s the purpose and responsibility of the entire congregation to be experts in hospitality, not just the greeters and ushers.  You love your God and your church.  Let is show.

Displayitatchurch.com caters to the display and signage needs of churches. Get Ready, Get set, GO all out for your visitors! Use those big signs to communicate, promote and give directions.
Bev Manson

Join the Displayit at Church Email Mailing list for thoughts and ideas for creative ministry. Our monthly email is our chosen vehicle for providing discounts, special pricing and product information for leaders on the front lines of ministry.

Blessed with the gift of gab and hospitality, Bev served as a staff member for a fast-growing church where she discovered her talent for helping people step out of their comfort zone. She began recruiting volunteers to serve in Children’s Ministry, and as the church grew, became focused on the influx of visitors and the need to make sure they didn’t get lost in the growth. For this, she developed a full team of trained volunteers to create the “WOW,  from the Street to the Seat”. Her success with this program lead to speaking engagements at churches across North Georgia, prompting a string of WOW experiences!  Now, as Marketing Manager for Displayit at Church, she loves sharing her tips, tricks and ideas, that can make a real difference.

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