My wife and I were talking recently about things that need to be done at the church we serve, First Baptist Church, Ruidoso. She was asking me when we should move forward toward extending our present spanish ministry. Three things came to my mind that get people an environment to invite their friends to a church campus. What does that atmosphere look like?
Look – a church campus should look right. It should have adequate signage to people know where to go and where things are on campus. The campus should be clean. Imagery should be simple and clear. The way a campus “looks” is important. A church should not assume its campus looks right. Life stages should be represented in each area with either paint, poster, signage, etc. I’m not sure we always look for the “look” but I’ve found it’s important. For examp;e, a big pulpit on a platform can really be a barrier (I’m glad our podium is small at our church).
S0, take a little walk around your campus. Ask, “what needs to look better?” Or, does this sign have too much information or just enough?” Or, “Is this campus clean?” Or, “What would a guest see outside as she comes on to the parking lot?” Take a walk. Make some notes. Up your game.
Feel –a church campus should feel right. Atmosphere is crucial. Greeters and ushers provide a “friend in the aisle” kind of service. A hand shake and “welcome to the church” are crucial. Church growth experts say guests make up their mind to come back to a church in the first 7 minutes of their campus experience. So, parking lot greeters are not a bad thing. The platform greeting needs to be personal and functional. Anything we can do to make people “feel” welcome and create an environment that let’s them leave saying, “I’ve got to come back.”
Ask your first and second time guests to give you feedback on how your campus feels. Use email. Let them tell you. Ask them, “What was your overall impression of our church experience?”
Sound – a campus needs to sound right. People should not enter some rooms (sanctuary, big class rooms, youth and kids rooms, really every round can have a sound) where there is silence. A light sound (a bed of music) is crucial. It makes a room feel and sound active. People can have conversations without feel as if the whole room is listening. Music performed by a choir or praise team doesn’t have to be perfect, but inviting. People come to a campus to worship and the worship delivery team should prompt the people to worship. Style is only important for targeting. But any music should prompt people to want to come back because they had an encounter with the God of creation. Also, the sound of light conversation before and after a service is good. It means people are excited and are connecting. One more thing: preaching should be encouraging and challenging. If people don’t get the word in a way that lovingly challenges them to walk with God, they will not see the relevance of coming to worship.
So, stand in the back of your worship sanctuary. Watch the environment and listen to the sound. Does it help people worship? Do you people talk before and after the service?
When a church gets these three things rolling well, these things will happen:
1. People will be more confident to invite their friends.
2. Pastors and leaders can focus on equipping people to do ministry and to minister to one another (especially in small groups).
3. Evangelism can be taught with greater depth and confidence.
4. Atmosphere seems electric and works for a church.
5. Motivation will help birth ministry and missions from the people.
6. Projects/events can be implemented without having to worry about the basics being undone.
7. A spirit of excellence will permeate your congregation.