HandshakeYou may have heard the story about a man who, in an attempt to find out what other churches were really like, visited 18 different churches on consecutive Sundays.

He always sat near the front of each building. After the service he would walk slowly to the rear then return to the front and back to the rear again using a different isle.

He was neatly dressed, smiled pleasantly at other worshippers and he would make it a point to initiate a conversation with at least one other person. He would also remain for coffee if it were served.

He used the following scale to rate his reception:

  • 10 points for a smile from a worshipper.
  • 10 points for a greeting from a worshipper.
  • 100 points if a worshipper exchanged names.
  • 200 points if he was invited to another service.
  • 1000 if he was introduced to another person.
  • 2000 points if he was invited to meet the pastor (maybe a bit over-rated!?).

On this scale 11 of the 18 churches earned less than 100 points.  5 churches received less than 20 points. 

His conclusion was this: the doctrine may be Biblical, the singing inspirational, the sermon uplifting, but when visitors find that nobody cares if they are there they are unlikely to return.

I can tell you that this is as true as true can be.

How easy it is to be friendly with our friends, rather than to reach out to those who are new.

… and remember, the size of a church doesn’t determine the friendliness of a church. I’ve been in a small church of 50 people where no one spoke to me and I’ve been a church of many 1000s of people where I felt very welcomed.

Decide to look out for the visitors and newcomers in your church – with genuine love. After all, that’s the measure of a great church – LOVE.

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