Church Tour Idea 001: Gateway Baptist Church has in its worship folder a link to their Gateway Groups web page where there is a discussion guide for the day’s sermon. Go to https://gatewaybc.com/gatewaygroups/ to check out the discussion guide for the sermon on November 24, 2019.
Church Tour Idea 002: Check out this CONNECT card from Gateway Baptist Church
Church Tour Idea 003: Yes, your church offers coffee for worshipers. But do you offer pumpkin spice and several other flavors, decaf, dark roast, hot chocolate, and water for tea? OK. OK. I know there has to be a limit, and this was in a very large church I visited. Still, offering variety is something to think about and to do as your resources and number of volunteers will allow.
Church Tour Idea 004: I sat down a few minutes before worship began. There was a staff minister walking around greeting people who are were in their seats. It was not just a “Hello, how are You?” It was up to one minute of glad you are here, how can we connect with and minister to you. Not long. No intrusive. But more genuine and meaningful than an obligatory smile, handshake, and “Hello”.
Church Tour Idea 005: A staff minister voiced a prayer early during worship, and then greeted the congregation with a special emphasis on guests. The connection card in the pew was highlighted, and guests were invited to complete the card, bring it to the welcome center, and they would receive a gift. The extra touch was that the staff minister said he would meet guests at the welcome center. This was important so that guests would already recognize someone who had sought to include them when they arrive at the welcome center.
Church Tour Idea 006: Many churches offer an invitation at the end of their worship service. What about offering an invitation at the beginning of worship? That is what I heard at one church recently when people were invited to inquire about having a personal relationship with Jesus as they completed the connect card. They were invited to ponder that thought during worship and stop by the Next Steps area as they left to talk with the same minister as the one who was offering the invitation.
Church Tour Idea 007: Where is your guest center or Next Steps kiosk? At one church recently it was within the worship center. People could see it as they entered. It was pointed out to people during worship. It was inviting and welcoming. It was not tucked away in a corner of the entrance hall or gathering space but was a place they would pass as they left worship. Where is your guest center or Next Steps kiosk? What works for you about your location? What does not? Where should it be in your church?
Church Tour Idea 008: We all know that providing a pleasant and meaningful welcome to people arriving for worship, a guide to take them where they need to go if it is not obvious – particularly if they have children needing childcare, and any other information they request is of highest importance. What about when they leave? Less than one-fourth of the congregations I attend during their tours thank people for coming and ask them to come back again. This particularly happens if a guest leaves early and the hospitality people are not in their places.
Church Tour Idea 009: The answer is less than five or more than 20. The question is, how long do churches ask people to stand during the music portion of the worship experience? Many of the traditional, blended, and contemporary worship services I attend never ask people to stand longer than five minutes without a break. Only in contemporary worship services do I see people being asked to stand 20 or more minutes. Typically the style of music playing – or performing – is a rock style when people are asked to stand a long time without sitting. How long is the right amount of time to ask an intergenerational congregation to stand?
Church Tour Idea 010: How do contemporary churches prompt – beyond asking – people to participate in worship by singing? It is not usually only by asking them to sing. Movement is one key idea. Movement is created by lights of various colors that move rather than are static. Movement is created by just enough machine created smoke that movement is observed and felt. Movement is created by a mobile camera moving in and out of the praise team and projecting these pictures thus creating the feeling that the audience is in the midst of the worship leadership. How else is this achieved?
Church Tour Idea 011: Many churches who project information on screens at the front of their worship center publish for simultaneous reading the words of the Bible verses as the preacher reads. One alternative idea recently seen is that the Bible book, chapter, and verse were posted, and underneath it had the name of the Bible version in the pews racks, and what page the scripture being read could be found. This encouraged people to open the Bible in front of them and read.
Church Tour Idea 012: At times people with a church background – particularly more liturgical in style – who are seeking church worship come expecting the opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper (communion). Or, people are going through a spiritual passage and this act of remembrance through worship appeals to them. Or, people who are members of a church which is not liturgical, but who come from a liturgical background miss the weekly observance of communion. Recently a story was shared of a church that offers the observance of the Lord’s Supper following every Sunday worship service. It is held in a smaller room near the worship center and administered by deacons or elders.
Church Tour Idea 13: It was a Sunday morning of on again and off again rain. As a couple approached one of the entrances of the church it started raining again. The door about 60 feet ahead of them swung open and a woman ran our opening a very large umbrella that looked like three or four people could walk under it. The couple remained substantially dry. Would that happen at your church?