Making visitors feel welcome is an ongoing challenge for most churches. Charles Arn is president of Church Growth Inc., where he has invested a lot of energy into understanding how visitors respond to different congregations. Our very own Rachel Willoughby spoke with him about how churches should engage newcomers.
In your research, have you found that there's one specific reason that visitors come to church?
The friendship factor. We've asked more than 50,000 people over the last 10 years why they came to church, and between 75 and 90 percent of respondents say, "I began attending because someone invited me." Those friends and relatives are critical to the growth of churches. They far outweigh factors like the facilities, music, preaching, or children's ministry–people may stay because of these things, but they come because someone they knew invited them.
Once visitors come, how do you engage them in a way that's genuine?
Make conversations happen. In ...1