(I invited Joe Mannino, my brother-in-law, to be a guest blogger. Joe has a heart for God, Christ's Church, and lost people. He wrote this in response to a seminar on Radical Hospitality he attended in WPB, FL. He is also Italian and works out at the YMCA, so if you don't like his blog you better keep it to yourself or you may sleep with the fishes!!)
EXTENDING RADICAL HOSPITALITY
It is almost impossible for those of us raised in the church really to understand how unchurched persons feel about Christianity and about visiting our worship services.
The Fermi Project, a recent sociological study of how 16-29 years olds outside the church think about Christians, reports the following findings:
- Judgmental - 87%
- Insensitive to others - 70%
- Hypocritical - 85%
- Not accept persons of other faiths - 64%
- Old Fashioned - 78%
- Boring - 68%
- Too involved in politics - 75%
- Confusing - 61%
- Out of touch with reality - 72%
While there are a variety of portals of entry into the life of a congregation, by far the primary entry point is worship.
Sixty to seventy percent of church goers say that the first time they came to worship they were invited and brought by a trusted friend of family member.
The main reasons people, who acknowledge that they would be willing to come to church, say they have not been to worship at a congregation is that they don't know anybody and nobody invited them.
WHY DO PEOPLE INVITE THEIR FRIENDS TO WORSHIP?
People are most likely to invite their friends or family to worship when:
- They themselves are spiritually blessed by attending their congregation
- Their congregational leaders teach the importance of "Come & See Ministry" and encourage people to invite their friends.
- They believe it will be a positive experience for their friend or family member.
People believe their friend or family member will have a positive experience when they sense the worship service will:
- Connect culturally with them.
- Be meaningful spiritually to them.
- And be executed with excellence.
THE MINISTRY OF HIGH IMPACT HOSPITALITY
High Impact Hospitality exceeds people's expectations. There is a "Wow!" factor when a visitor feels that "They expected people like us to show up today and they were ready for us!"
High Impact Hospitality includes many things which people take in quickly and often unconsciously to make their first impressions of the congregation: Facilities, parking, greeters & ushers, refreshments, signage, bulletins & announcements, childcare and visitor follow up.
High Impact Hospitality includes many aspects about the worship service, but the two biggest are the music and the message. Can they relate to the music played and is it played with excellence? Does the message address issues that a visitor can relate to? Is it offered in a way that makes sense to them?