12 Reasons Guests Don't Come Back

Having a difficult time getting guests to return?  Here's twelve reasons why they may not be coming back.

You only greeted them at the front door.  Most churches have greeters at the front door.  But once you move past the front door...good luck...you're on your own.

You made them wait in line.  People hate to wait in line. 

No one talked to them...I mean really talked to them.  This goes along with the first reason.  Just a "hello" at the front door is not talking to someone. 

Someone was rude to them.  An usher was short with them.  Or they were told they were "sitting in someone's seat."  Or people just looked past them as they walked down the hallway.  Or someone enforced a "hard and fast" rule in the children's area without kindness.  

They didn't see people they could identify with.  Perhaps they didn't see many people their age, season of life, social economic background, or ethnicity.

They weren't invited by a friend.  Since they didn't know anyone else and no one reached out to them once they got there, they have no relational connection to bring them back.

You didn't provide them with an easy, clear next step to get connected.  

You didn't make them feel valued.  They had to park in the worst area of the parking lot.  There were no signs or directions about where to go.  The people they interacted with made them feel like they were a "bother."

You were too friendly.  You smothered them.  You've experienced that in a store.  As soon as you walk in, you're pounced on by an associate eager to make a sales commission.  It makes you want to run out the door.

The service was boring and irrelevant to their life.  They couldn't relate to the music.  The lesson was full of information without application.  20 minutes in, they realized it would have been more comfortable to stay home and take a nap on the couch instead of taking one in a church seat.

Their kids didn't like it.  When they picked up their kids, the kids weren't smiling.  The children's service matched the adult service in dullness and irrelevance. 

You didn't capitalize on the first 8 minutes.  Guests decide in the first 8 minutes if they are going to return.  Most of the above happens in the first 8 minutes.

Questions to ask your team...

  • Do we help guests once they pass the front door?
  • Do we walk guests to their classrooms?
  • Do we have a separate check-in area for guests?
  • How long do guests have to wait in line to check-in?
  • Is someone engaging guests in meaningful conversation between the front door and the auditorium door?
  • Do we have kind, friendly people as ushers, greeters, teachers, etc.?
  • Do we teach our people to live for others?  Do they have a heart for new people who walk in the door?  Have we helped them see "it's not about us?"
  • What is the demographic of our church?   Who are we reaching?  Who are we not reaching? Are we diverse?
  • Are we making relational connections with guests?
  • Do we have clear, next steps that guests can take to get connected?  Are they simple and easy to communicate?
  • Do we give guests the best parking spots?
  • Is there clear, easy-to-understand signage?
  • Are we "smothering" new guests?  Does it sound like we are giving a sales pitch?
  • Is our music and message relevant to their life?
  • Are we creating a fun, engaging environment for kids?  Are kids dragging their parents to or away from our church?
  • Are we maximizing the first 8 minutes?  What are guests experiencing in the first 8 minutes?
What are some other reasons guests don't come back?
Share your thoughts, ideas, and insight with us in the comment section below.