Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy if you want, but Nelson Searcy, writing in "Fusion", states that his work with churches of all sizes and types have proven this over and over. I have also found this true not only in churches I work with, but also my own church, Elevation.
If churches are faithful to prepare a warm welcome for the guests God has given (and those who will come), then He will be faithful to bless those churches.
So, how do you "prepare?"
Searcy thinks it all starts in pre-service preparation: a series of actions he calls "from the street to the seat." The pre-service is a church's first opportunity for interaction with everyone who sets foot on the property. The mission of the pre-service is to make every effort to take your guest's guard down, to make them feel welcome, and to put a smile on their face. He finds four initial areas of contact through which you can influence your guests during the pre-service:
- Greeted - welcomed with a smile
- Directed - Simply and politely shown and taken to where they need to go
- Treated - Shown respect, and happily surprised with full-service attention
- Seated - led to comfortable, appropriate seats
Everything done in preparation for a church service works together to represent God's character to unchurched people. They may not know immediately why they like your church or why the feel comfortable, but it's because you've done your work to set them at ease before they knew they were coming.
Tomorrow: The Clock is Ticking...