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9 Ways to Make a Terrible First Impression

It takes work to make a great first impression, and that’s good news. You know why? Because that means it’s something you can control. I guess the bad news is if you’re not happy with the first impression your church gives off, then you only have yourself to blame. You’ve allowed it to happen.

But you can fix it. You just need to know where to start. Perhaps, the best place to start is looking at some ways churches make a terrible first impression.

  1. They’re dirty. Cleanliness is next to godliness may not actually be in the Bible, but that doesn’t give us a pass on cleaning. There are a lot of small town churches with more cobwebs than congregants. Do you know what a layer of dust and several stained ceiling tiles communicate to people? We don’t really care. If you don’t care enough to keep your church clean, then people aren’t going to care enough to come back.
  2. They’re stinky. I’m not sure whose idea it was to put a bathroom in the foyer of every little church in Tennessee, but that person needs a medal for Worst Idea Ever. Combine that idea with the Chili Cook Off, and you have the potential for an explosive situation. Lucky for you, the church saved money by buying the budget toilet paper. This is a situation that I guarantee that someone reading this has experienced before. So, keep your bathrooms clean, take out the trash, and use an air freshener.
  3. They’re outdated. We’re not talking about ten years out of date. In many churches, we’re talking 20 to 30 to even 50 years out of date. And is it just me, or do you have to be a grandma to be the head of the decorating committee? I have nothing against grandmas. Most of the time, they’re great people, but if the inside of your church looks like the inside of Grandma’s house, then you’re not reaching anyone under the age of 50.
  4. They’re unprofessional. They don’t get started on time, they don’t end on time, they have awkward transitions, they have people singing who shouldn’t be singing, and they overall just seem unprepared.
  5. They’re not friendly. No one greets you. No one smiles at you. No one’s glad you’re there. Instead they’re suspicious, they’re judgmental, and they’re rude. Most people don’t have an issue with Jesus. They give up on Jesus because they’ve walked into a church like this.
  6. They’re not relatable. From the way people dress to the way the pastor preaches, it just doesn’t connect. People have real problems. When you don’t talk about problems and don’t share your own struggles, it makes you appear fake.
  7. No one in the parking lot. Even if you have a small parking lot, you should have one or two parking lot greeters.
  8. No signage or confusing signage. Where do I go? What if I want more information about your church? Who do I talk to?
  9. No website or social media page. I mean, really? The Internet is here to stay. It’s not a passing fad.

It’s crazy how many simple mistakes churches make when it comes to first impressions. What are some that you’ve experienced that need to be added to this list? Leave a comment, and let us know.  If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with someone else who would enjoy it.

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2 thoughts on “9 Ways to Make a Terrible First Impression

  1. Jean

    Being asked by the greeter, “Who invited you?”

    Being told I was in the wrong church (2 churches had the same name) and being told I would feel more comfortable in the other church because I was the wrong color. The ushers/greeters refused to seat us.
    We were caucasion. The church was African American.

    When everyone stares at you instead of smiles at you.

    Sitting in the “wrong” pew or chair, and being informed by the person who normally sits there that you have taken their seat.

    Outside needs attention, grass needs to be mowed, weeds removed, etc.

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