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What first time guests hope to find when they open the door at church

Guests that walk through the doors of your church for the first time on a Sunday morning have no real clear idea about what lies ahead for them. What is familiar to regular church attenders is substantially unfamiliar to the guests. They are entering into the unknown.

The experience can be unnerving, uncomfortable, and downright creepy. When the door swings open, they literally cannot be certain about what will come next.

It is to your advantage to place your guests at ease as quickly as possible. Here are five things to know. I call them five things that your guests will likely hope to encounter when they step inside.

Vitality... Signs of life. Upbeat. Active. Buzz. Snap in the steps of people. Not a dud or thud. It looks, sounds, smells alive. Like a rose in bloom. Freshness. Cleanliness. No blank stares. On the game. Quickness. Readiness. Preparedness. A game plan obvious. Execution of the game plan.

Receptivity... Hospitality. Smiles. Greetings. A clear people-orientation. Not surprised by me, the guest. Assistance. Courtesy. Welcome. More than people behind a wall in a welcome booth. A personal fit ... like a hand in a glove, like a hitch in a receiver, like a foot in a shoe. Comfortable. At home. A reduction in the awkwardness of the moment. Acceptance.

Sensitivity... Awareness. Responsiveness. Understanding. No pressure. I am appreciated. I am valued. Somebody cares. Not overbearing. Not pushy or overpowering. No barrage of questions. Not ignored either. Reactive. Conscientious people. Personalized attention. Somebody learns my name and uses it.

Clarity... Fog lifted. Confusion, uncertainty, fear, and doubt erased. Answers. Clear signage; not left wandering the halls. Not left to guess what to do or where to go. Information. Concise handouts. Direction. Instruction. Now I know. Got it covered. Go this way. Do this. Light at the end of the tunnel. Feeling confident again.

Immediacy... Just in time. Things happen on time. Right now. No waiting... not for direction, not for childcare, not for restrooms, not for coffee. No line. No late starts. No wasted time. Move right along. Get there; get it done.

You can add other items to this list. I welcome your input in the comments. Hopefully, this list of five guest concerns will serve to reduce some of the anxiety and trepidation of those that visit your church for the first time.

Make a good First Impression. Call me for assistance.

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