I love my little christian mysticism and the people in it don’t get me wrong but I felt I needed to give it my report card. It got a C+ but it has room for much improvement. As a former lay leader, I saw quite a few things that my church appeared to be doing wrong. Why wasn’t my church growing and so I looked around to see why. Now, as you might expect, some of the membership as well as the pastor weren’t overly impressed by my assessment.! Thought there were many problems that should be considered and make others aware of them. Maybe someone else would agree with me or see where we could be more receptive to others.
It is not a good way to win a popularity contest but I believed it was a necessity at the time. We had a great location on a busy street. I wondered how others viewed our house of worship. Why were other churches able to attract people and ours not so much? I didn’t think it was harmful to find out why and suggest ways to improve our stats.
Our service is at 10 am on Sunday but it might be better at 11 am to reach and accommodate more young people. This was only a hunch. The church building is attractive but it is a poorly lit church at night. I thought we could install better lighting to enhance visibility. When someone drove by our church it should put on its best face.
The Church Sign outside the building was a dreadful mess with falling out letters. I thought we should fix it or replace it. No one else seemed to think it was an issue so it remains the same nearly three months later. I am on a church committee and am involved with improving a website that needed to reach more potential customers. Why not see our church as a business with a product to sell. If you think in those terms, it might be easier to identify issues that decrease our effectiveness. That has been my goal to analytically look at our weaknesses and perhaps something good might come out of it. I certainly am not going to spend a lot of time pointing out where things could be improved.
A church needs a Welcoming group of two or more individuals who can make visitors feel welcome and then point them in the right direction. First impressions are always important in any organization. At many Sunday services, there are no greeters at the door. I thought we should have more greeters and better signage in the lobby if people come in late and need directions. A visitor will just leave if they see no greeters and no direction in order to get to the main service area.
We have an elevator and this is a necessary component and should be known before hand to attract more people. I’m putting additional information into the website and pointing out our many missions as the church is a small church with a big heart in the center of the city. I’m trying to get the word out to the unknowing.
The church owns a chime system that can be heard outside when turned on and should be used. Presently it is being repaired and should be back in service soon. The church seems to have a good reputation with the neighborhood but is having a hard job getting residents in the door. Many are un-churched within our reach. We need to better connect to this group.
Starting on the outside of the building, it is a nice looking building but in a poorer neighborhood and if it was better lit and the pot holes in the parking lot were fixed, there would be a more pleasant face shining and I’m sure more people would come in during Sunday Services. Fix the sign and here they come I thought.
Once inside and properly greeted and directed to the main church upstairs, it would be up to the ushers at the church entrance to welcome them inside. Once in the main church, it is the music, friendliness of members and a good sermon and service to bring the people back a second time. If they don’t have a great experience, they won’t be back. Music is an issue and it seems to be getting worse. There is no reason why there can’t be three good hymns that are familiar to all. If you pick terrible songs, no one gets inspired. It seems like it should be an easy job to pick three songs but apparently it is a problem. I believe one of the songs could be the same every week like amazing grace, there are some beautiful songs that everyone knows the words so picking just two songs shouldn’t be hard. I would even have ten songs that everyone is familiar with and have them printed on a couple of two sided sheets. Why do we always need to search through hymnals to sing unknown songs? We want to inspire people in an easier format.
The next issue I see is too much interest in the Old Testament while inspiring sermons are usually from the New Testament with a connection to modern day issues. Please no more David and Goliath or Jonah the Whale sermons. Are we still in Sunday school? Remember first impressions and inspiring are the key words if building a church is important. No wonder so many churches are in trouble today.
The last minister at our church had a more formal service and I think it is important to wear proper attire like robes when preaching. Also please don’t read your sermons from paper if you’re down in front of the people. OK if behind the podium but not up front. Keep it simple and try to memorize something.