Continuing our discussion about welcoming people to your church services, we offer this post from Dale Hudson writing for Church Leaders.Com.


5 Things First-Time Guests HATE Doing at Church

If you are asking your first-time guests to do any of these things, you may be unknowingly pushing them away and causing them to not return.

1. People hate waiting in line.

Are you asking first-time guests to wait in line?  How long are they having to wait in line to register?  How long are they having to wait to drop off their kids at the classroom?  How long are they having to wait to pick-up their kids?


  • Have a separate check-in area for first-time guests.
  • Monitor your drop off and pick up lines.  If the line starts backing up, be prepared to open another line.

 2. People hate not knowing where to go.

You know what it’s like.  You’re in a big store…looking for an item…no help in site…without a clue about where to find it.  It’s very frustrating.  Asking people to navigate your church without any signage or personal help has the same affect on people.


  • Have clear signage.
  • Always walk people to their class, room, etc. instead of telling them where to go.

3. People hate to be ignored.

Ever been alone at a party or event and you didn’t know anyone?  Everyone is engaged in conversation.  It becomes very awkward as you struggle to connect with someone.  People feel that same awkwardness when they walk into church and are not greeted or acknowledged.


  • Have greeters at ever door.  Pick the right people for this roles.  They should be friendly and have the ability to make people feel welcome and comfortable.
  • Don’t just greet people at the door.  Have hosts that will engage guests in conversation beyond the door and get them connected to other people who will make them feel at home.

4. People hate being singled out.

People want to be welcomed, but not embarrassed.  I’ve seen churches have guests remain standing after a song is over, or worse yet, have them stand up and introduce themselves.  Unless they are a politician running for office, they hate this.


  • Make guests feel welcome privately, but don’t single them out or recognize them publicly.
  • Be friendly, but don’t be so friendly they feel like they are being asked to buy a car by a used car salesman.

5. People hate not being able to find a good parking spot or having to settle for a crummy one.

We all get frustrated driving around a parking lot trying to find a spot.  The opposite is true when we find a great parking spot.  We experience a rush of relief and happiness.  The same is true for people who pull into your church parking lot.


  • Ask staff and key volunteers to take the worst parking spots and save the best parking spots for first-time guests.
  • Have reserved parking for first-time guests.

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