None of us set out to make visitors to our Women’s Ministry events uncomfortable or unwelcome.
I know it would never be our intention, but we often inadvertently do things that alienate the very people we are trying to reach.
Let’s take a look at a few ways your team may unknowingly be alienating visitors.
How to Alienate Visitors
- Forgo name tags.
- Skip the icebreaker.
- Allow them to sit by themselves.
- Reference Biblical characters and “well-known” Bible verses.
- Assume they have heard the Bible story that is shared. (I.E. Everyone knows the story of Noah.)
- Sing church-y songs without providing any words.
- Ask them when they became a Christian during their first visit.
- Require that everyone share something personal out loud with the group.
- Hang out in groups and cliques.
- Talk about things only those “in the know” will understand (I.E. the traveling hospital gown that appears at each conference).
- Ignore them when they walk in the door.
- Ask them to pray out loud.
- Make information about the event hard to find (don’t put it on your website, Sunday bulletins, or other places visitors might look).
- Allow registration for “member’s only”.
- Don’t provide additional needed supplies (Bibles, pens, paper).
- Pass a collection/love offering basket around the room/circle.
- Don’t introduce them to other people you know at the event.
- Don’t share your personal contact information with them at the end of the evening.
- Don’t contact them afterward to let them know you were glad you came.
- Neglect to point out where the restrooms are.
- Have a lengthy time of mingling/socializing without any direction/instruction.
- Introduce them to the entire group – make them stand up and feel like they are under a microscope.
- Over-contact them after the event – make multiple phone calls, add them to several church email lists, put them on the list for a home visit, etc.
- Enthusiastically gush about their attendance, pointing out to as many people in the room that it’s their first visit and how glad you are they came.
So what can we do?
Train your team members to be welcoming, but not pushy. Caution them to dial-back their enthusiasm for visitors. New faces can be very exciting in a church that is struggling with growth.
Do your best to read the body language of your visitors. Some would prefer to just sit back and watch. Others will be upset if they felt they were ignored.
There’s a fine line between welcoming and overbearing.
They’ll pick up on whether or not you are being genuine.
Above anything else, let them know their presence mattered and that you were glad they came.