As you begin reaching out to new families in your community, you do need to think about things you take for granted—like your church signs. While you and your members may know where to park, where the children’s areas are and all the unique names of your ministries, your new visitors will not. It’s vital to have clear, attractive signage to help your guests feel welcome and to help them navigate your church.
For example, a churchgoer relayed this story about his visit to a different church while his family was on vacation. They picked a fairly large church that was close to the tourist attractions in town. The impression he came home with, “Boy, they really need some better signs. I wasn’t sure where to take my kids or where the worship center was.”
Now, that gentleman may have been a one-time visitor on vacation. But, think of all the potential repeat visitors who have the same experience. How many people have not returned because they felt lost or frustrated?
Three Methods to Evaluate Your Church Signs:
- The Blindfold Test: You don’t actually have to use a blindfold, but the sentiment is the same. Stand outside your church’s main doors, close your eyes and try to find your way to the Sunday School classes. That is how a first time visitor feels—even with their eyes open! Every sign is a helpful person taking your guest by the hand and saying, “This way!”
- Find a “Secret Shopper”: When a store wants to understand the experience of their customers, they hire secret shoppers. Secret shoppers try out their business and report back the positives and negatives. Ask someone who has never (or rarely) been to your church to come on a Sunday. Have them to take notes and give you feedback on what was easy and what was hard about getting around your church. Remember, don’t be too sensitive—just listen. Use their information to make changes.
- Check Out Other Churches: Take a field trip to other churches in your area and see how they use church signs to help their members and visitors get around. Compare it to your current signage. Does yours measure up? Is your church as welcoming or helpful? Write down ideas you would like to copy directly and take notes on ideas you think might be great with a few tweaks. Because you’ve never been there, you’ll get a true understanding of what it’s like to be a stranger. As a result, you can then use your experience to help you cultivate a welcoming environment for your church!
Remember, someone visiting your church for the first time is going to be experiencing sensory overload. Evaluate your current church signs with the above methods and see if yours is doing the job. It will go a long way toward helping your visitors feel comfortable—which means they’ll probably be more likely to come back next Sunday.