The Real Reason Guests Come Back to Your Church

The Real Reason Guests Come Back to Your Church

Getting people to come to your church is the easy part. Convincing them to come back is an entirely different story. Today, churches try nearly everything imaginable to keep first time guests. Gift bags, doughnuts, t-shirts and coffee mugs are handed out in hopes of making guests feel appreciated and valued. Gifts are nice but people are really looking for an experience.

Unfortunately, in smaller churches the experiences can end up being a little scary. I have been to churches where guests were publicly recognized, asked to stand and be greeted by total strangers, with extended, sometimes sweaty hands. Other times, new guests are completely ignored.

The secret to getting guests to come back is love. People can easily sense love–or the lack therof. Whether they realize it or not, love is what they are looking for…we all are. Love moves people.

If love is the trump card that can cause new guests to become returning guests, what does love look like? Love is intentionally engaging people with God and His grace. This helps their heart to become more open to community, truth and God’s spirit. Love can make a difference in how someone responds to the worship service, sermon and ultimately, the Gospel.

Here are 5 practical ways to ensure that genuine love is shown at your church:

  1. Start by helping your hospitality team (ushers, greeters, etc.) understand the mission behind what they are doing. Teach them to be authentic, not robotic. As much as possible, hand-pick volunteers who have a knack for connecting with people and set them up as leaders to build a genuine culture.
  2. Emphasize the importance of showing genuine love during messages, videos and in team meetings.
  3. Be intentional about creating connection and conversation opportunities and areas before and after the service.
  4. Offer great experiences for kids that are designed to capture their hearts with the love of Jesus. Show genuine concern for families by partnering with parents to provide tools to help kids take their next steps toward Christ.
  5. Develop a follow-up strategy that exceeds expectations. Go above and beyond in letting guests know that they were appreciated and valued. “Surprise and delight” is buzz phrase in marketing; study the creative ways brands are doing this. Shouldn’t the church be able to come up with the most touching, heartfelt ways to show love?

Genuinely loving others is powerful. I have seen first-hand how the love of Jesus can literally change the way a person feels about God, church and even their own life. Experiencing love is the main reason the unchurched will come back to your church.

Photo Credit: K1_Camz via Compfight cc

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By |2017-02-09T13:52:34+00:00February 15th, 2015|Strategy|3 Comments

About the Author:

Chad served as the lead pastor for sixteen years in a town of 2,000 people, where he grew a church from 60 to 500 people. Chad currently serves as the executive pastor at Eagle Heights Church in Somerset, KY and led strategic planning sessions for the rural pastors at the Center of Rural Church Advancement at the Nebraska Christian College in Omaha.


  1. Deborah February 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Without love, there is no point.

    Jesus directly stated (commanded?) to the Pastor of all pastors (Peter) to feed His sheep (Himself: His very body and blood) so as to give them what they needed to grow and become strong. To not do this each week is neglect, leading the sheep to become malnourished and weak – attracting predators to the flock.

    Some pastors, however, appear to be self-seekers, however righteous or humble, amenable to allowing wolves in and giving them fleeces to cover themselves with.

    For the survivors, keeping church at home with family or one or two close friends is far safer than going to a church.

    Christ is the all in all, our only hope.

  2. Tracey Karcher February 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    I have experienced many churches who’s philosophy is, visitors welcome, new members, not so much!

    • mm
      Tiffany Deluccia February 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      That’s a sad reality. If love is the motivator, churches should want to welcome new people into the family on an on-going basis!

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