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Top Ten Reasons Vistors don't come back?

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  • Top Ten Reasons Vistors don't come back?

    Thom Rainer at thomrainer.com recently published a survey of the Top Ten Ways Churches Drive away guests I admit I could have guessed several of these, but like Thom, I would have never guessed the number one response...how about You? Are there better ways to handle that and still have it? Any other thoughts on what might keep them from coming back?
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

  • #2
    An Orthodox service is rather different than the typical Protestant service, so a non-Orthodox visitor can have a lot to overcome. Our service books are fairly straightforward; however, one part of the service is different every week, and that's when people tend to stop attempting to follow along. We have summary sheets that we print each month that are a guide to get through that part, but not all long-time members even try to follow them. The alternative would be to print out that section every week, but that would be a lot of paper (and work, if we put the words to music).

    On the other hand, Orthodox visitors might say, "It's Orthodox, but it's not Greek/Russian/my ethnicity." There's not a whole lot we can do about that.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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    • #3
      #1 was always something I liked when I visited a new church, my church does not do that though. The rest I can appreciate however.
      Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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      • #4
        People still seriously do #9 to visitors? (Or anybody, for that matter.) Screwball to anybody who does.
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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        • #5
          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          An Orthodox service is rather different than the typical Protestant service, so a non-Orthodox visitor can have a lot to overcome. Our service books are fairly straightforward; however, one part of the service is different every week, and that's when people tend to stop attempting to follow along. We have summary sheets that we print each month that are a guide to get through that part, but not all long-time members even try to follow them. The alternative would be to print out that section every week, but that would be a lot of paper (and work, if we put the words to music).
          Yeah, by our "Western Protestant" standards, you folks are "different"

          In the beauty of a normal Orthodox Cathedral, I guess a Projector screen would be too jarring? We project everything on our projection screens, announcements, songs, bible verses etc...

          On the other hand, Orthodox visitors might say, "It's Orthodox, but it's not Greek/Russian/my ethnicity." There's not a whole lot we can do about that.
          Yeah, not much you can do about that...you guys are very "ethnic" oriented I guess?

          BTW, My middle son is dating a girl who's family is Orthodox. He has been to their church a few times and reported that he liked it quite a bit! But in the last year, neither he or his girlfriend have gone and he told me recently he had moved from theist to mostly agnostic...
          "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

          "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
            #1 was always something I liked when I visited a new church, my church does not do that though. The rest I can appreciate however.
            I admit, I found it a bit awkward in the past, but I've been going to this church for 18+ years and never thought about it. Our church does do it though, I was just wondering if there could be a way to minimize the discomfort some might feel...
            "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

            "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
              People still seriously do #9 to visitors? (Or anybody, for that matter.) Screwball to anybody who does.
              I work with a guy who's church is a very small one and is mostly family...he said that they ALL have "their" seats and they will tell people to move...

              I'm with you though...screwball to a church that would allow that to go on...
              "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

              "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

              Comment


              • #8
                Very interesting, especially #1. Our church did that regularly, and I always disliked it, not that I thought it drove visitors away, but it seemed to disrupt the flow of the worship.

                One thing I noticed at our little church was that the pastor was so anxious to greet first time visitors that he bulldozed his way to them at the end of the service and immediately wanted their phone numbers and addresses so he could visit them the following week. Many people never came back, and I always thought that that might have been one of the reasons. Sort of overwhelming, especially if you are ONLY visiting and may need time to think about coming back again.


                Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                  Very interesting, especially #1. Our church did that regularly, and I always disliked it, not that I thought it drove visitors away, but it seemed to disrupt the flow of the worship.

                  One thing I noticed at our little church was that the pastor was so anxious to greet first time visitors that he bulldozed his way to them at the end of the service and immediately wanted their phone numbers and addresses so he could visit them the following week. Many people never came back, and I always thought that that might have been one of the reasons. Sort of overwhelming, especially if you are ONLY visiting and may need time to think about coming back again.
                  We have what we call an I-connect card we ask them to fill out. They can turn it in to the information center and get a free $10 Starbucks gift card. On the card it asks if they would like to be contacted or not, so it's entirely up to them.

                  We do ours at the very start of the service so it doesn't interrupt anything. I kind of like it, but would be fine if it was discontinued...
                  "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

                  "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    An Orthodox service is rather different than the typical Protestant service, so a non-Orthodox visitor can have a lot to overcome. Our service books are fairly straightforward; however, one part of the service is different every week, and that's when people tend to stop attempting to follow along. We have summary sheets that we print each month that are a guide to get through that part, but not all long-time members even try to follow them. The alternative would be to print out that section every week, but that would be a lot of paper (and work, if we put the words to music).

                    On the other hand, Orthodox visitors might say, "It's Orthodox, but it's not Greek/Russian/my ethnicity." There's not a whole lot we can do about that.
                    Are most Orthodox churches proactively evangelical? I'd imagine that, generally speaking, most new members to an Orthodox church already have some idea of what they're getting into, whereas with many evangelical Protestant churches, you may have people just wandering in off the street.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                      Very interesting, especially #1. Our church did that regularly, and I always disliked it, not that I thought it drove visitors away, but it seemed to disrupt the flow of the worship.
                      # 1 always makes me uneasy as well, but I think it may actually be a healthy thing to encourage a church to do. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and there have been many times I've gone to a church for years, and not known a lot of the regulars, because people are afraid, or uncomfortable communicating with one another. Maybe church is a place where we should be a little uncomfortable to break off some of that thinking. Afterall, any church where you're too comfortable probably ain't doing it right.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                        # 1 always makes me uneasy as well, but I think it may actually be a healthy thing to encourage a church to do. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and there have been many times I've gone to a church for years, and not known a lot of the regulars, because people are afraid, or uncomfortable communicating with one another. Maybe church is a place where we should be a little uncomfortable to break off some of that thinking. Afterall, any church where you're too comfortable maybe ain't doing it right.
                        I would be okay with it only if a church proactively encouraged people to greet new people. Nothing is more awkward than seeing a visitor completely ignored during greeting times. (To be honest, I tend to get overlooked too because I'm back after several years away and I really hate it.)
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Seems like #1 and #2 are in conflict. You can't please everyone all the time.

                          I think greeting people is one of the nice things in church. The friendliness of the members is why I started going to the church I go to, even though it is a "megachurch"

                          When I first went there, not only was I greeted at the door, but the greeter could tell by my confused look I was a newbie, and he introduced himself and actually walked me to the auditorium, found me a seat and sat with me during the service. And he took it upon himself to introduce me to others. I felt wanted and good about the people there and I came back again and again.

                          The only time I was ever at a church that I couldn't wait to leave was at my brother's church, where he had an old time screaming baptist preacher (since replaced) who, during Christmas service was preaching hellfire and calling everyone sinners and screaming at the top of his lungs. I was already a Christian at that point but even I couldn't take the guilt trip he was spewing forth. Especially at Christmas.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                            # 1 always makes me uneasy as well, but I think it may actually be a healthy thing to encourage a church to do. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and there have been many times I've gone to a church for years, and not known a lot of the regulars, because people are afraid, or uncomfortable communicating with one another. Maybe church is a place where we should be a little uncomfortable to break off some of that thinking. Afterall, any church where you're too comfortable probably ain't doing it right.
                            And I agree with you. Except that in this particular church, when the sermon is over, (promptly at noon, or else), the whole congregation would proceed down the stairs to the basement for coffee and treats. Lots of fellowshipping and visiting, etc.

                            When that is in place, then extra greeting within the service is not necessary and can be disruptive.


                            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                              I would be okay with it only if a church proactively encouraged people to greet new people. Nothing is more awkward than seeing a visitor completely ignored during greeting times. (To be honest, I tend to get overlooked too because I'm back after several years away and I really hate it.)
                              Yeah, maybe there's a better way of doing it altogether then. I don't know. The worst for me is getting that sort of cold fish handshake and meek hello. I always found it nice when I sat next to that couple who seemed genuinely happy that you were there and would give a stranger a big smile, a hearty handshake or sometimes even a big hug. I realized after awhile that it was I who needed to be that person who showed genuine joy to see a stranger, and give them a firm handshake and a smile.

                              A weird thing I've noticed though is that sometimes #1 can lead #2. A number of people I've invited to church mistook genuine joy, and a hearty greeting for superficiality. They just couldn't comprehend that anyone attending a service would be that energetic and friendly, having for years associated the church with something very somber and serious and dry.

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