Priesthood Training and Encouragement

An interesting article I found online:

From “Growing Healthy Churches Together”

Fourteen Characteristics of Genuinely Friendly Churches

Several years ago, when I was involved in active church consultations, I assembled data on what I called GFCs, Genuinely Friendly Churches. …..
Here is the simple but profound difference I found in GFCs and all other churches: A genuinely friendly church has a guest return rate six times greater than other churches.
Did you get that? If a church meets the guidelines to be a GFC, the probability of a guest returning is six times higher than all other churches! Sadly, only about one of twenty churches meets the criteria necessary to be a GFC.

Here are the 14 characteristics of genuinely friendly churches:

1. They are intentional about being friendly. Warmth and friendliness are clear values of these churches. They are articulated regularly. All organizations, including churches, naturally drift toward an inward focus unless they are otherwise intentional.

2. The leaders model warmth, humility, and friendliness. The friendliness is not contrived or phony. These leaders have prayerfully become genuinely friendly men and women.

3. GFCs utilize a secret guest at least twice a year. One small church of which I am aware budgets $100 a year for a secret guest. They pay the guest with a $50 gift card to come to the church and provide feedback on their experience. I call this process “looking in the mirror” because it gives the church a real opportunity to see itself as others do.

4. GFCs have a guest friendly web site. The web site typically set the tone for a guest. If it did not have obvious information for a guest, such as worship times and addresses, the guest came to the church with a more negative disposition.

5. The church has clear signage (inside and outside). Far too many churches lack this signage. They assume that everyone knows where everything is. First-time guests know nothing about the church or its facilities.

6. GFCs have a well-organized greeters’ ministry. They have greeters in the parking lot, greeters in the entrances, and greeters in other strategic locations inside. Many GFCs utilize newer members in this ministry.

7. These churches have clear information places. It may be something as simple as a well-marked table manned by a member of the church. The signage points clearly to the information table, booth, or kiosk.

8. GFCs have clean and neat buildings. It is amazing how much a clean facility adds to the positive mood of a guest. It is equally amazing how few churches pay attention to this issue.

9. They have a guest feedback process. To the best of their ability, GFCs follow up with guests to get feedback on their experiences. They also encourage the guests to be open and frank in the feedback.

10. There is follow-up with every visitor. These congregations send emails or cards to welcome every single visitor – every time.

11. The children’s area is clearly safe and sanitary. Don’t expect young parents to return if the church does not give clear attention to this matter.

12. The majority of church members in GFCs are involved in the community. They thus exude genuine friendliness in the worship services because they are regularly connecting with non-church members other days of the week.

13. GFCs have new member classes that emphasize the responsibilities and expectations of church members.

14. GFCs are highly intentional about reaching people beyond their own groups. Thus when these group members are in a worship service, they are already accustomed to reaching out beyond those with whom they already have relationships. Members are thus more apt to look beyond their own preferences to serve others. That attitude shows up in the worship services.

Would you like to see your church retain guests six times greater than 95 percent of all other churches? Give your church an honest evaluation of these 14 items. See if you can give an emphatic “yes” to at least 11 of them. If not, what should you or your church change?

Dorothy Hibbard

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