After three months into the relocation we are still in the process of looking for a church. We are looking for one where our entire family will grow in our personal relationship with Christ, make connections and build friendships.
Being in full time ministry for more than 16 years we always attended the church where I was on staff. Now that we are starting a new ministry in a new location, we get to choose. To say the least, finding a "church home" has been more difficult than Cindy and I ever could have imagined.
We have been to six churches in twelve weeks, some with thousands of attendees, others with hundreds. Churches with great music and churches that needed to visit the churches with great music so they would know what goals to aim at (this had nothing to do with "style" but rather quality). We have been to churches that greeted us in the parking lot and churches we thought had closed down because there was nobody around to help us, really! We have seen really good children's programs with security and then we have visited churches where anyone could pick-up a baby or child without ever identifying him or herself. We have seen programs (bulletins) with great information about the church and we have received no information at all. There have been churches that greeted us with a smile at an "information" area with answers to the questions we had and there were information counters/desk that were surrounded by regular attendees drinking coffee and sharing their most recent golf scores (needless to say we didn't get any church information but I took two strokes off my game).
I have given you just a few examples of what we have experienced in our search. I also tried to avoid my opinion (with an exception or two) in what I thought was effective and what was not. I think it would also surprise you to know that many ministries that were doing well, in my opinion, where not the mega churches but rather those that were really trying to connect with people.
SO, here they are, the big questions: What does your ministry offer? How do you connect with people? How important do they feel? What steps do you take to communicate your ministry?
People visiting your church for the first time don't care WHAT you call them, you know, first time friend, future sibling in Christ, potential giver, guest, visitor (NO, not that one! They might think they are new or something...). What people are looking for is to feel welcome, comfortable, the opportunity to "look around" and see if what you have is what they need. People visit for a reason, give them a reason to stay!
Which doors of your church do you best welcome people to, the front or the back?