Hello there. My name is Nonreligious Guy and I’m going to attend your church tomorrow. Here are the things you need to know:
- I’m taking a big chance by coming. I feel really nervous, so do everything you can to make this experience as non-threatening as possible.
- I’m very observant. I’m picking up both verbal and non-verbal communication. Help me make sure this is a safe place where I won’t have to reveal too much of myself until I am ready.
- Help me find where my family and I need to go without too much asking.
- Even though they look friendly, train your greeters to be sensitive to the fact that I’m nervous and I need a little reassuring.
- When I sit down in the service I want to be able to sit where I choose, and if at all possible, let me sit near the back and near the aisle.
- Don’t fill the program with too much stuff. Just give me the basics of what I need to know.
- Make sure the music has some spirit and life to it. While I may not want to worship, I want to be around other people who do and I want to see what the experience is like.
- When you speak it would be helpful to have an outline to help me understand what’s going to be said and how it’s going to relate to my life.
- If you use the word “lost” I am not going to understand that you’re talking about me. I don’t feel lost, though I do feel terribly disconnected.
- Don’t shout and scream. I get enough of that at work and home.
- Talk as though we’re having a conversation, not a confrontation. It’ll be easier for me to listen.
- Don’t just tell me that Jesus is “the way.” Help me understand what you mean and talk about him at length because he’s the one thing I’m interested in.
- On that note, don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus. I’ve been to churches where they’ve talked around him.
- Use the Scripture and make it easy for me to follow along. I’m not just interested in your opinion. Give me just a few insights to hold onto. I don’t need a lot.
- While I don’t quite understand how long this talk should be taking, please don’t make it any longer than it has to be. I’ll get used to it after awhile, but initially, I get distracted.
- At the end of the service don’t ask me to do something I’m not ready to do. Leave the decision with me.
- When I leave, make me feel as though you are glad I was there, but leave the decision to come back up to me.
This is not an exhaustive list, but think through it from the perspective of a brand new person who has come into your church. See how they feel.