by Ida Smith-Williams
Regardless of denomination, this coming Sunday will mark one of the highest attended Sunday worship services nationwide. According to Jim Davidson, a sociology professor at Purdue, church attendance increases about 25% on Easter.
Keep in mind that there will be lots of new people visiting in your congregation who may not attend any other time of the year. Recognizing and greeting these new people and following up with them after their visit is important.
Worshipers in a sample of Presbyterian congregations were asked about what most impressed them when they first visited their current congregation and what made them want to come back again. Their top five answers were: friendliness of the people; overall worship experience; quality of the sermon; music during worship; and the sense of God’s presence. For growing churches, worshipers citing a “sense of God’s presence” was not as common as the personality or style of the minister for their return to the church.
Churches that grew were most likely to recognize their visitors. First-time worshipers were more likely to say they were greeted by people seated near them, by the pastor, and by an usher or other greeter.
Worshipers attending growing churches for the first time were almost twice as likely to say that they were contacted after their church visit.
Visitors in growing churches were also most likely to be greeted by numerous people.