Our family visited another church for the first time.
We showed up unannounced and uninvited.
We had seen the sign on the street announcing service times and chose to attend.
The experience was very different than the first time visitor story we shared in a prior posting.
A Cross Cultural Church Visitor Experience
This church met in the same building as the prior story.
It is an immigrant Spanish language church that shares the facility with an established English language congregation (pictured here is a different church visit).
We experienced a little more comfort factor in navigating the premises because we now knew where the entrance was and where the sanctuary was.
It’s a smaller church, so the lobby area was not full of people, nor was the sanctuary, which led to us being recognized quickly as first time visitors.
I’m clearly not Latino, so I stood out.
We were promptly greeted by several people who came up, offered a hand shake and engaged us in conversation. None of these conversations were the formulaic exchange of a simple hello.
Each conversation asked questions about us, making it obvious they were taking simple interest in us.
After a while, the pastor came and introduced himself to us and sat down to talk with us for a few minutes before the service.
As visitors, we were welcomed publicly in the service, pointed out by the pastor, but not asked to stand or share a story, or anything like that.
We were simply acknowledged, along with the other visitors that day. Simple information like what country they were from, or what our ministry was about.
After the service, more people came to us to shake our hands and let us know they would like to see us return. We did make it clear that we didn’t live in that town.
Overall, the impression we received was of warmth. This congregation welcomed us and demonstrated an interest in who we were as people.
If we are ever in that town again, we’d be there.
What this church did well.
This church seemed to have hospitality to visitors in its DNA. The amount of people who took the initiative to welcome us, greet us, talk with us was sufficient to help us feel welcome. It was not smothering or overwhelming.
They had a vision to welcome visitors. Everyone took the initiative to participate.
They were small enough that they didn’t need a formalized ministry of greeters. I’m not sure what their assimilation system might be, as we didn’t fill out any visitor contact information.
Improve your own welcome.
Do you want more first time church visitors to come back a second time? Taking care of your hospitality systems can help you keep more of your visitors. I’ve put an ebook together to help you review your hospitality systems