Whenever I am out of town for a weekend, I look for a church to attend. More specifically, I look for a church plant to attend. Each time I do this, I am reminded that it can be scary attending any church for the first time. The anxiety intensifies if you don’t know anyone there.
With this in mind, put yourself in the shoes of a first-time guest.
Can they find their way around the church? Regardless of the size of the church, this can be problematic. Signs go a long way to bring clarity.
Clarity over confusion – Signage Matters!
Here are some things to look at with regards to signage:
Do people know where to park?
Where can they park if the most obvious spaces are occupied? Consider designating some of the best parking spaces as “first-time guest parking”.
Where is the entry point to the church?
This can be confusing if there are multiple doors visible from the parking lot. Some may be for the children’s area, some may be locked, and for emergency purposes only. Note where people park and where their eyes would naturally turn when looking for the pathway to the entrance. Put a sign there. Don’t make it with fancy font or background design. just make it clear and noticeable. The majority of the time, less is best.
Restrooms are Important!
One of the things that should be clearly marked is the restrooms. Not only should the doors be marked with male and female signs, but some directional signs would be awesome!
Don’t forget Children’s Ministry.
Does your church offer children’s ministry and/or nursery? This is one of the most important areas for families. Be sure the areas have signage! Also, if these ministry areas are not in eyeshot of the entrance, get some directional signs to help them find their way.
Hopefully, there will be people to welcome them and walk them to the children’s ministry areas but some people will arrive late or simply ninja their way past the greeters. Signage will help!
This is not an exhaustive list by any means.
I hope this post serves as a catalyst for you and the leadership team to look at the church through a different lens – that of a first-time guest.
It is quite possible that you need some help. Ask a trusted friend (that doesn’t attend your church) to come and use “fresh eyes” on their church experience. Ask for honest feedback. You may be surprised.
Remember, clarity is the key.
Readability and visibility are more important than fancy. Using light colors on a dark background or dark colors on a light background is highly recommended.