I’m not a “pop-in” person. Although I’ve had many people invite me to over the years, I don’t think I have ever “dropped in” to some one’s house “just because I was in the neighborhood”. I don’t do it because I’m not sure if I’m “really invited”. I don’t do it because I don’t know what to expect…are they napping, in the shower, getting ready for bed?
You know when I show up at friends houses? When I am truly invited. When they care enough to “set a date” and give me the details. When I know what kind of event I am coming to so I can dress and prepare accordingly. (Is it a barbecue on the deck, or a formal dinner party…I’ve never been to a formal dinner party but I’m pretty sure it would be in bad taste to show up in flip flops.)
Everyday I drive past church signs (this one’s not real) like the one above. Somehow we expect people to “drop in.” We expect them to know what to wear, where to go, and how long we will meet…even though we don’t tell them. Even more disturbing is the fact that when they don’t put aside their discomfort and drop in- we blame them for our own failure to properly invite them. “I guess people just don’t want to hear anyone “preach the word” anymore…” Puhleeeeeze!
Practical ways to make your community feel “invited”
- Give real information on your website! This is a biggie for me. Instead of telling about what Bible College, khaki’s and kind of ice cream your pastor enjoys, how about answering my questions about what to wear, how long is your service, and what can I expect… If I know how to prepare and dress I will be more comfortable to “drop in”.
- Signage. Since I was not part of the building committee of your church…I don’t know where the children’s area or the restroom is…and I really need to go!
- More than “greeters”… As much as I enjoy a handshake at the door (I can do without it) and a big fat bulletin to “mutilate” during your service…what I really need is someone to notice my confused look and offer to walk with me to the children’s area. (LCBC did this great our first week…so much for” mega churches” not being friendly!)
- Have a “gathering” worth inviting someone to! In all my years of witnessing “bring a friend Sunday’s” and other gimmicks, Nothing is as effective in getting people to personally invite their friends than having “something worth inviting your friends to”. It’s that simple. Guess what, kids won’t invite their friends over to the house if they know that “embarrassing aunt Edna” is going to be there. In my experience, it is also unlikely that church attenders will invite their friends if there are “embarrassing elements” of a church service. If the preacher consistently feels “led by the spirit” to beat the life out of his already dying sermon with “just one more point” …If the singer sounds like part of the early auditions of American Idol… If it is boring…irrelevent…or a waste of time…people may endure it themselves, but they will not subject their friends to their church “service”…
We are passionate about inviting York county to be a part of actionchurch. We understand that everyone may not choose to join us…but it won’t be because they were not “invited!”