David Ripley, President

David Ripley, President

Vision Statement #6

“Cultivate a worship and guest care consciousness that builds relationships between unchurched people and God.”


First Impressions

A few years ago Lynn and I moved to a new city to begin pastoring a church. After the hard work of moving, we looked for the nearest Tex-Mex restaurant for supper. We were a little hesitant because we had never seen what was beyond these particular restaurant doors before. But we bravely entered.

We were greeted by a host and shown to a table. Water was brought, complementary chips and salsa was served and menus were delivered. However, we had been in the restaurant less than five minutes when I leaned over to Lynn and whispered, “We are never coming back to this restaurant again!”  We smiled, ordered our food, ate supper, paid, left a tip, and departed. As predicted, we never returned.

I have often wondered what determined that we would never return. The host? Waiter? Music? Ambiance? Not sure, perhaps a combination of all these things.

Our churches are the same. We only get one chance to make a positive first impression.

Our responsibility is to design our worship services and guest care to make first time guests feel at home.

First time guests arrive at our church buildings a little hesitant about what they are about to experience. They will quickly decide in five minutes or less if they will ever return again. Of course what they experience throughout their time in the building can have strong influence both positive and negative. Unfortunately, even if they tentatively think they might return, what happens as we greet and serve them can impact their resolve.

You will notice that we use the term “guest” not “visitor.”

A visitor is an outsider who we tolerate, but do not feel obligated to help to be comfortable. A guest is someone who we want to feel invited, and valued. Our mindset will motivate us to do all we can to make them feel welcomed, and cared-for. We will work diligently to see that they have no distractions that keep them from meeting Jesus while they are inside our church building. We will even care enough to follow up and help invite them to return and become involved.

Guest Care

When it comes to guest care, the most important position in the church is NOT the pastor, elder, deacon, or deaconess.

The most important people for guest care are those we choose as greeters.

They are the face of the church. They must be properly trained. They are the first people our guests meet as they enter our church building. Our greeters largely determine if guests will ever return.*

If you have a guest friendly worship that connects people to Jesus, and you have good guest care you will have many people returning each Sabbath. People from your community will join God’s last day mission to share Jesus with their friends, relatives and neighbors.

How many first time guests do you have attending your church each Sabbath? More importantly, how many second and third time guests do you have attending?

Win Arn, a church health specialist wrote in his book “Church Growth Ratios” that

a healthy church will have 5% in attendance that are guests.

He also notes that in healthy churches 25% of first time guests who live within a reasonable driving distance from your church will be a part of the church family within a year. And 75% of second, third, and fourth time guests will become a part of your church.

Let us worship and take care of guests in a manner that they will join God’s last day mission on earth and grow the Kingdom of God!

Lord Bless,


*Our office can provide free Guest Care Training with topics like “How To Connect with Guests So They Stay in the Church” . Please contact Lynn Ripley, Director for Total Member Involvement to schedule a free training session or weekend.


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Learn More: This article is part of a series focused on making the new Man-Sask Mission & Vision practical and applicable.

– Where did this Mission & Vision come from?
– How will it make a difference?
– How will it impact you?

Check out previous articles in the series here