I'm in Bozeman, Montana, today moving my son into college. It is Move In Day! This is the second time I've experienced move in day as a parent, and I can still remember how it felt when I was a freshman myself. We have been prepared with all kinds of information through emails and special webpages set up just for us. They all acknowledge, this is going to be emotional, confusing and difficult, but we are going to get you through it!
Every Sunday is move in day for someone at your church. Do you remember the first time you walked into your church? It's hard. It's confusing. You need someone to help you get through it.
Here are four things every church should do to make 'move in day' easier:
Preparation -- Is your website clear to the first-time guest? Voice everything about your church and what happens on Sunday for the person who is trying it out for the very first time.
T-Shirt Brigade -- There's nothing like having clearly uniformed, smiling helpers welcoming you to the scene. All the pressure of figuring it out on you own dissipates immediately when someone steps toward you with a smile and says, "Are you finding what you're looking for? Can I help?"
Emotional Honesty -- No matter how great you think your church is, for the first-timer it is a hard place to break into. Be honest about that. This will be difficult. Not every step will be easy. You may make some wrong turns. Be honest about the fears and struggles every visitor faces...
Commitment to Positive Results -- ...but also make sure your volunteer team is committed to positive results. The optimistic host will never leave you wondering if it will work out or not. They are committed to seeing it through.
Coming to church for the first time can be very rough. Take a page out of the university move in day playbook and see if you can't make it a little easier. Everyone needs and easy road home to the Lord! Make sure your front door is friendly.
'Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.' Acts 2:47