Joey Sparks

6 Ways to Run Off Visi–er, Guests

Who is the next person to obey the gospel where you are a member?

We don't know this person’s name, but we can know at least one thing about him or her. He or she will have sat in the auditorium for worship services before being baptized into Christ. This person may be here for several reasons: she has ties to the church and has been attending for a while; he accepted an invitation from a member; or she looked us up and is seeing if we offer something for her family. No matter the reason, modern converts first attend worship service(s) before coming to Christ.

Because everyone’s soul is of utmost spiritual value, we—as the church, but especially as individuals—must take seriously how we treat those visiting our worship services. If we do not want to take our responsibility seriously, here are some things we should do:

1) Welcome visitors.

Instead, welcome "guests."

The word “visitor” carries a connotation that includes “unexpectedness” and “unfamiliarity.” If we’re not careful, we can unintentionally send the message that we don’t expect others to come to worship, or worse, that we’re uncomfortable that they’re here. We would do well to welcome “guests” each week. Guest parking, guest packets, “We’d like to welcome all of our guests today,” etc.

2) Arrive on time.

Instead, arrive early.

Guests will almost always be early. We normally arrive on time so we can take care of “our business.” But creating a margin of time allows us to focus on the needs of others. We never have second chance to make a first impression on our guests. If we’re merely on time or late, we miss the first opportunity to get to know them.

3) Introduce yourself.

Instead, introduce them to other members.

Our mental definition of friendliness typically stops with introducing ourselves. But true friendliness happens when we introduce guests to others. It’s especially helpful to introduce them to those whom they may know or have something in common. How would you treat family from out of town if they attended worship? Why should it be any different for someone you just met?

4) Fill the pews.

Instead, sit somewhere so guests can sit with you.

The easiest way for guests to feel lonely is for them to sit by themselves. There’s no excuse for that to happen. You may need to sit on a different pew than you traditionally do. But is God asking you to serve yourself, or others? If you're not sitting with a guest, sit toward the front so they see you're excited about worship.

5) Eat lunch with your family.

Instead, carry guests out to lunch.

Pay for their lunch and spend time intentionally getting to know them. Don't worry about converting them at the table. Commit to learning who they are and building a friendship with them.

6) Hope you see them at the next worship service.

Instead, make a follow-up visit.

Make time in the day or two following their visit to stop by their house and give them some goodies. The Spring Meadows church in Spring Hill, TN, carries mini loaves of banana bread to Sunday guests every Monday evening (but it could be cookies, sourdough bread, brownies, etc.). Don’t leave your relationship with guests to the chance of time and circumstance. Go out of your way to show your love for their souls.

These six things are not horrible and unfriendly things to do. But if we’re unintentional about how we treat guests, we’re probably not sending the message(s) we think we are. Let’s be intentional and reflect God’s love as we interact with our friends and neighbors.

Posted by Joey Sparks

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. really good. Can I put this in my bulletin??

  2. Absolutely, Brian. Appreciate the kind words.

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