Yesterday I made a trip over to one of the local high schools. I had been by there before, but always for a sporting event when I was in high school. As I pulled into the parking lot I began to get that butterfly feeling in my stomach. I get that feeling whenever I find myself in a new situation or around people that I don't know very well.
I followed the signs that would lead me to the superintendents office and I found a parking spot close to the doors. I looked up and noticed there were several sets of doors and all had the tint so dark that you couldn't see what was on the other side. I tried to play it off like I knew where I was going, but inside I had no idea.
I walked up to the door as I pulled on the doorknob I had a George Bush moment...I pulled on the door and it just wouldn't open. My nervousness turned into a panic when I looked and saw there were about 10 doors that I would have to try. I had 2 thoughts...I'm trying to go into the wrong doors and am going to get pepper sprayed by some security guard...or...there are other people on the other side laughing at me right now. I finally found the 1 door out of 10 that was unlocked. I quickly looked around for where I was to go next and found one door that was not labeled that had a receptionist sitting at a desk.
My point behind all of this is simple...
Whether it is our youth group or our church...how do we make visitors feel when they come to our services? We need to get into the mindset of a person who has never been to church or youth group before. How are they going to feel the moment they step out of their vehicle and approach the building? Are the doors, that are unlocked, clearly marked? Where are they supposed to go once they get through the doors?
I've always heard that most visitors know within the first 2 minutes of stepping into a church whether or not they're coming back. It is in the way we greet people and make them feel welcome that determines if they're going to trust us. If they're going to give us enough attention to hear the message that God loves them.
What can your church/youth group to better reach the visitors? I suggest starting by becoming a visitor yourself.