I have recently been reading a lot about revitalising churches. It’s a big topic with lots of thoughts to sift through. There are thoughts you would expect to find like how prayer is essential, discipleship is key and always be ready for change. But I kept bumping into things I didn’t expect to see. Things that when I first came across them I would wrote off as mundane. Or things where I would think, “Oh, that’s just the author’s hobby horse.” But the more I read the more these things kept showing up. So today, I want to give you a list of things that at first glance may appear mundane but are actually worth paying attention to.
- Make sure your website is up-to-date. Lots of times, your website is the front door to your church. Most people will check you out online before they show up in person so if you don’t have a website, they won’t find you. If your website is out of date or really bad they won’t want to find you. Make sure your website includes basic information like your service time and location right up front. The content needs to be clear and current.
- Have an effective greeter’s ministry. There is nothing quite like being welcomed when you show up at church – even if you are a regular. You are made to feel like you being there matters and that people are glad to see you. Yet at too many churches people can walk in and sit down not have spoken to anyone. Greeters can also show newcomers “the ropes” – where the kids go, where the bathrooms are and any other questions a newcomers might have. Well trained, informed and friendly greeters can make a big difference to the atmosphere of your church.
- Clean and safe facilities. I am not saying your meeting space has to be lavish and trendy. Lots of churches tried that and now they have weird coloured carpet in a bunch of their rooms. But your space needs to be clean and well maintained. Clutter, musty odours, messy washrooms and a whole list of other things send a message that your worship space and what you do there isn’t really that important. Also, all those things are likely to make newcomers not come back. Same with unclean or unsafe children’s areas. People won’t leave their kids and won’t be back. I know that fixing and cleaning stuff is expensive. But not doing it well also has a cost. And if you think your space is fine, have a visitor walk through your building and see what they have to say. They will notice things that you have gotten used to.
- Tell good stories. We used to call this giving testimonies. I am not necessarily advocating an “open mic” time every Sunday – many of us have horror stories about that – but you do need to have time and space when you gather and have people tell stories about what God is up to in and through the people and ministries of your church. Stories like this also help a church celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness. And you get to highlight what matters to God and the church. There is always time for a good story.
So there you go. These are not the latest or trendiest ideas but ones that are worth considering.
Director of Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada