6 Questions We Need to Think About When We’re Thinking About the Weekend

It’s pretty easy for us to think about what we think about when we think about the weekend experience at our churches (feel free to re-read that sentence. I won’t be offended.).

After all, they’re our experiences. We gather together on a regular basis. We catch up with our long-time friends. We walk through the same old doors, sit in the same old seats, and – for the most part – experience a familiar, somewhat predictable, unsurprising service.

Not so with our first time guests. Whereas we’re seeing it for the 500th time, they’re seeing it for the first. If we’re old pros, they’re rookies. And so, while it can be difficult to look at the weekend through the eyes of a guest, it’s necessary. Here are six questions we can think about when we’re thinking about the weekend:

Do guests know when we meet? Are service times posted clearly on the website? Are the times on the church marquee out by the road still accurate?

Do guests know where we meet? Do all online mapping services lead to your gathering spot? If you’re mobile, is their GPS unit taking them to the weekend worship service, or to your rented weekday office space?

Do guests know what to do when they show up? Is signage clear? Where do they park? How do they get into the building? Where do they drop off their kids? Do you even have something for their kids?

Do guests know what to do when they get inside? Can they sit just anywhere? Are there sections or seats that are off limits? Are all parts of the service for them, or are some things restricted? If they want or need more information, who should they ask?

Do guests know that people care about them? Is it obvious that you’ve planned the weekend with them in mind? Do you have a way for them to self-identify? Have you made sure the facility is clean? Are your people actually talking to strangers they don’t know?

Do guests know what’s next? Have you answered the “So what?” and “Now what?” questions? Are their resources to help them go further in their journey? Is there an event or a place they can go to find out more?

Every weekend is somebody’s first weekend. And chances are better than average that you’re going to have a few outsiders trying to get inside this Sunday. How will they view their experience?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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