A Sunday Guest Experience Checklist


I think there are many aspects more important to the health and biblical function of a church than an “excellent guest experience”. Frankly, if we’re really “being” the church in our own lives and as a body, people will know it and Christ will draw them to Himself through it. At the same time, evaluating a guest’s experience is one of many ways to determine if the church organization is “firing on all cylinders”, and functioning in these practical aspects to the very best of our ability. Preparing to welcome guests and members, and planning adequately for the demands of a weekend service schedule is just practical and necessary.

I’ve created this guest experience checklist for a typical Sunday morning routine at church. The list is certainly not comprehensive and I welcome suggested additions from readers.

Pre-Visit Information:

  • Service times, directions to church including map and information about the pastor/teacher and teaching series directly accessible from the home page of website (92% of prospective guests visit website first)
  • Information about preschool and children’s ministries, including security and allergy policies, easily accessible online
  • Youth ministry schedule accessible online
  • Brochures about church (general) or any individual ministry or event, business cards, bulletin and any other printed media contain church contact information, including phone and website address, map to the church, service times and general description of the style/type of service
  • Receptionist and/or any other person answering telephones or fielding calls is prepared to give information about Sunday mornings at the church, including schedule, directions, short bio of the Pastor and details of current teaching series
  • System in place to capture guest information on pre-service contacts; registration card at phones with name, email address blanks; online registration with more detailed contact info; option online to pre-register children for preschool/children’s area to speed Sunday guest processing

Campus Entrance, Parking and Landscape:

  • All entrances to campus clearly marked with signage
  • Directions to main entrance and preschool/children’s entrance clearly marked
  • Volunteers or uniformed officers directing traffic (if traffic is an issue)
  • Parking lot clean, clear of debris (leaves, pine straw, dirt)
  • Snow and ice cleared from walking paths and sidewalks on cold days; sand or salt distributed as needed to keep lot from being hazardous to vehicles or pedestrians
  • Grass mowed, weeds pulled from any flower beds, dead flowers or shrubs removed
  • Dead birds or animals on property discarded
  • Wooded areas neat; wild growing shrubry and weeds trimmed so woods do not appear “overgrown”
  • Any water features on campus (fountains, ponds) operating properly and not filled with stagnent, smelly water
  • Entrance doors clearly marked; visible from parking lot
  • Parking area, entrances and walkways brightly lit at night; outdoor direction signs employ reflective lettering for night viewing
  • Guest parking area (if provided) marked; assistance available to guests in parking area (volunteers)
  • Handicap parking and access provided; handicap ramps clear of debris and in good overall repair

Lobby:

  • Guest information desk or reception desk clearly visible and accessible from main entrance; area is well-lit and staffed with friendly volunteers
  • Information about church (brochures, etc.), Bibles, pens and note paper, preschool information, registration cards and other supplies available at information desk or reception desk
  • Temperature in building comfortable (68-72 degrees)
  • Floor mats and umbrella storage available on rainy days; hanging coat storage available on cold days
  • Indicator signs not to disturb service in progress if guest enters between services
  • Clearly marked directions to preschool and children’s areas (be mindful of security–direct to general area, but avoid specifics of room locations and focus on putting guests in touch with appropriate volunters)
  • Written security and medical plans in place; at least one security volunteer and medical volunteer on call at all times–use pager or cell phone notification if possible; walkie-talkies are sometimes even better
  • Medical (first aid) kit and portable defibrilator (if funds allow) on site; wheelchairs and crutches available nearby
  • No un-skirted (bare) tables in lobby; no unmanned displays or information stations; no “old” information on shelves or tables for distribution

General Campus Appearance:

  • No burned out lightbulbs visible
  • Carpets vaccummed
  • Tile and vinyl floors polished
  • Bathrooms clean and neat; disinfected; extra supplies of toilet paper and feminine products available; plungers and mops available for fast cleanups or emergencies
  • No dead bugs inside building (especially roaches or rodents)
  • Windows cleaned; handrails and other “touchable” surfaces free of dirt and dust
  • No un-skirted (bare) tables in hallways; no stacked chairs in hallways or common areas
  • Coffee supplies distributed (if offered) and in adequate quantities; all coffee equipment in working order
  • All entrances and exits unlocked; meeting rooms unlocked; comfortable temperature achieved at least 20 minutes before scheduled use of rooms (68-72 degrees)

Preschool and Children’s Check-In:

  • Simple and quick registration process for guests
  • Simple security process for all children grade 6 and under; computerized matching tags or simple pairs of laminated cards; policy and physical setup where unauthorized adults may not interact with children in classrooms
  • Children’s rooms are clean and neat; toys and games sprayed with disinfectant; carpets clean; rooms have pleasant odor
  • Preschool bathroom areas are clean and disinfected; adequate diaper and bathroom supplies avaiable

Ushers/Volunteers and Sunday Bulletin:

  • Adequate supply of bulletins and sermon notes pre-staged for hand-out
  • Printed material is hepful without being distracting (less is more)
  • Ushers/helpers/volunteers are identified in some way (dress, nametag, vest, lanyard)
  • All volunteers have nametags
  • Ushers trained in greeting, friendliness, mindful of providing assistance to elderly, physically disabled, handicapped
  • Ushers trained to keep doors closed and guest and members out of worship room during sound, lighting and video check and rehearsals

Worship Room Setup:

  • Adequate lighting to walk at all times
  • Comfortable temperature achieved (68-72 degrees) prior to sound check (temperature changes after this time will affect sound in room, quality of vocalists, tuning of instruments)
  • Service schedule/outline given to all worship leaders and technical personnel; any last-minute changes clearly communicated to all who have a role in the service(s)
  • Chairs/pews clean; stains removed from seating areas and carpets
  • Doors open and close silently so people entering/leaving do not distract worshippers
  • In-seat supplies (offering envelopes, pens, hymnals, Bibles, etc.) replenished and in good condition
  • Video screen(s) have helpful information scrolling before and between services
  • Soft, pleasant music playing before and between services (should be in background to encourage worshippers to prepare for service–avoid “making a statement” with background music)
  • Technical checks have been completed before any guest or member enters room for worship; no sound or lighting adjustments once doors are open
  • Written policies for medical emergencies, inclement weather (tornados or thunderstorms), power outages and disturbances within the congregation; all key personnel should know the plans

Worship Gathering Follow-Up:

  • Counseling area available after service if required; away from foot traffic, quiet and discreet; stocked with Bibles, registration cards, tracts and any other needed supplies.
  • Use “two man rule” for collection and deposit of offering receipts (no one individual ever left alone with offering receipts)
  • Egress areas (hallways, lobby) cleared of tables or other obstructions that hinder congregants from exiting efficiently.
  • Notification system in place to preschool and children’s area via phone, beeper, walkie-talkie or volunteers 4-5 minutes prior to service dismissing so teachers can wrap up lessons and prepare children for pick-up.

Spiritual Preparation:

  • Pastor’s message prepared; outline available to all key technical personnel and worship leaders
  • Worship elements (music, video, drama) are engaged to “set the stage” for the teaching of the Word

Prayer Team, Worship Leaders, Pastor and Volunteers Have Been Praying During Week and on Sunday Morning For:

  • Pastor and his family
  • Other staff and their families
  • The church, congregation and volunteers
  • Guests and non-believers who might visit
  • The Word to be taught clearly and effectively
  • The worship gathering to be free of distractions that might hinder the hearing, receiving and processing of the Word
  • All technical elements for the services to be smooth and free of errors and distractions
  • God to be honored in all Sunday activities, and that God would also receive any credit for all that occurs

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Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.