Yesterday, I shared part of an article from David Francis, LifeWay Director of Sunday School. In the article he takes a humorous approach to the topic of assimilation by talking about ways to make guests feel unwelcome. Instead of discussing ways to attract and keep guests, he lists ways to make guests want to leave the church and not return. Here’s part two of his article, 10 Ways to Make Guests Feel Unwelcome:
- Make first-time guest parking inconvenient.
- Use grouchy greeters.
- Forgo a Welcome Center.
- Treat guests like a doctor’s office treats new patients!
- Don’t escort guests to their classrooms.
- Put questions in parents’ minds about the safety and security of their children. The door of a preschool or children’s Sunday School room may be the most critical place when it comes to making parents – and children – feel welcome. In fact, mess this one up, and you can probably ignore the other nine ideas! Unprepared teachers, lack of information about security, and a general attitude of uncaring will keep returning families to a minimum.
- Make finding a seat really hard. All members can participate in this one! Don’t save any seats at the back of the room or on the aisles. Face chairs away from the door so nobody sees newcomers enter. If you can make a guest come to the front of the room, or crawl over several people to find a seat, you’ll almost guarantee they’ll feel unwelcome.
- Have guests stand up while everyone else sits … or sit while everyone else stands. I am not sure which of these works better. I almost think the practice of having guests remain seated while everyone around them stands is better if you want to make guests feel unwelcome. It is sort of like being a little baby in a crib surrounded by doting relatives! You can probably come up with some other ideas for putting guests in awkward positions.
- Randomly call on people to read or pray. You don’t even need to pick on guests! Just call on random members to pray or read Scripture. That will serve to create anxiety in your guests that they may be next!
- Don’t contact guests after their visit. This is your “hold card” for making guests feel unwelcome. An impersonal computer-generated letter will work nearly as well. Just be sure not to include a hand-written “P.S.” that sounds personal! Don’t call. Don’t email. And by all means, don’t drop by for a visit. Even a quick, “don’t want to come in” visit at the door where you communicate, “We’re glad you came; here’s some information about our church,” might be enough to generate a second visit. Especially if you make the contact early in the week. So do everything you can to rationalize or talk yourself out of making a personal contact if you want to ensure guests feel unwelcome.
Be sure to read Part 1 of David Francis’ article as well.