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I attended one of our five SIX stated presbytery meetings last night (yes, five meetings a year – don’t get me started! obviously I was hoping we had moved to 5 when I wrote this initially!).  One of the ways I stay sane during these meetings is to peruse the publications offered to visitors in the pews; check out the bulletin boards in the hallways; take in the signage; and generally see what we can steal for our own congregation.  I know I’m not the only one that does this! 

Last night I came across this offering envelope:


I was struck by a couple of things:

  • the picture reminds me of my childhood days growing up in the church – and that was awhile ago!  Dated pictures speak volumes.  I know some folks do have churches that look like this but I am certain that no sun looks like that!  Dated pictures = out of touch with 2011.
  • I am Visiting – I’m all for including folks in the life of the congregation and don’t really agree with the “you don’t have to give because you are a guest” but this seems a bit odd.  Maybe if there had been something else to welcome those who were visiting? 

All this got me thinking about what we offer to folks who enter our building.  There is a ton of room for improvement.  I wish there was a good way to get a feel of what visitors really think about their experience.  The ones we hear from are those that stick around not the ones who never even make it in the door because of the website; the parking lot; the message on the phone; fill-in-the-blank much less those who come once and don’t return. 

We really do need mystery worshippers that will give reports like those on Ship of Fools.  Anyone have a great idea of how to go about doing that?  I am not a fan of anonymous critiques because too often they become a way of not talking, but I know that some folks would simply not share their ideas about what doesn’t work. 

I also don’t agree with “the church is just like a business” argument.  In some ways, yes, but I do believe we are to function in the realm of what is faithful not what is cost-effective or will bring us success.   This example is very Presbyterian and church related but I’m sure the questions arising from it cross denominational boundaries and  even professional settings.   

I’d love to hear your wisdom.