12 Ways to Make Sure Easter Guests Don't Come Back

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Of course, if you care about guests, you might consider the opposite.

This Sunday is Easter, and when you look around your church, you’re going to get that uncomfortable feeling that comes from being around all kinds of people you haven’t seen in a while, or perhaps never before. You know, the slackers who only show up at church twice a year, the backsliders who haven’t been to church in five years, and the heathens who wouldn’t know the Pentateuch from a pentagram.

They’re going to take your favorite pew, sit and stand at the wrong times during the service, and double your wait in the coffee line after the service. 

You don’t want to have to put up with those distractions and inconveniences week in and week out, so here are 12 ways to ensure those people don’t come back the week after Easter.

1. Keep to yourself. Avoid eye contact. And by all means, don’t welcome anyone you don’t know.

2. Walk up to someone you haven’t seen for a while and say, “Hey, hey … Look who it is … You don’t think just showing up for Easter is going to get you out of the Big Guy’s doghouse, do you?”

3. Make sure all the greeters, ushers, singers, speakers and everyone involved in leading the service are all of the same ethnic background so that if anyone of a different ethnicity shows up, they know they are considered second-class citizens.

4. Take down all your signs so only the regulars know if a door leads to the pastor’s office, the ladies’ room or a broom closet.

5. During the service, have the pastor pray, “Lord, please forgive all those sinners who have failed to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

6. Invite the worst singer in the choir to do a solo.

7. Find a way to tie the Easter message into a soliloquy on the Iraq War, and make it clear that everyone who disagrees with the pastor’s position is on the devil’s side.

8. During the service, ask all the visitors to stand and then introduce themselves to the entire congregation.

9. Announce that next week the pastor will begin a 12-week series on hell.

10. Put a sign up in the children’s ministry area that indicates you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to volunteers with criminal records.

11. Just assume that everyone understands what communion is all about. Then when people start coming forward to receive communion, have the ushers quietly walk up to the “really big sinners” and ask them to return to their seats.

12. Announce that visitors must fill out a form with their contact information and should expect an elder-evangelist tag team waiting in their driveway when they get home.

Of course, if you actually care about guests and irregular church attendees because you believe they matter to God, you might consider doing just the opposite.  

Paul Steinbrueck Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, and a husband, father of 3, and a prolific blogger.

More from Paul Steinbrueck or visit Paul at http://blog.ourchurch.com/

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  • Bibleteacher Org

    For #3, what if there’s only one race of people in the Church. Should we go out and hire another type person so we don’t look racist?

    • Dd001

      Maybe

    • FrBrian

      Or, I suppose, one could take the good news to those of a different ethnic or social/economic situation than those who DO fill your pews and invite them to your church/parish.

  • Guest

    Pauly . . . you ain’t right brother!!  Ha-ha . . . but I love you!  If God didn’t want us to laugh He wouldn’t let us do dumb things like you have listed here.  Thanks for calling out those things!

  • Take_niwa

    Why not forget the choir and have everyone sing so they can praise God rather than watch others put on a show?

    • Devo

      Have the pastor come out in the buff and sing like he is in the shower for real…..that will get their attention.

      • RetiredAirman

        It would empty the building – LOL

  • 30 Year YOUth Pastor

    I have lived through most of these – especially number 7!  However, #3 isn’t funny and is out of line.  Sorry – my opinion.

    • audie

      I agree. Pathetic and tasteless.

  • elsie

    I have a tricky situation as it’s my pastor who makes visitors feel unwelcome, e.g. insisting that they close the door behind them as they come in, even if they have to walk back down the aisle to do so. How do I challenge him on this without showing (or appearing to show) disrespect?

    • RetiredAirman

      install a door return on the door. I’ll guarantee someone has complained about the open door, and he’s trying to keep the peace

  • MSJ

    Stupid article.

  • Scott Siddle

    Great stuff Dave!!!
    Sad that for a lot these will ring true!
    And, that its just not on Resurrection Sunday that these happen!

  • CB

    Ethnic greeters? Really? How soulish can we get? Should we have a percentage of each ethnic group relative to the population in the immediate neighborhood, or should it be based on the entire SMSA?

    Disappointing.

  • Theologyb

    This is an excellent message because most visitors will make up their minds on whether to return or not. Long before the preaches word comes. They will pick up on whatever negativity is in the sanctuary and then wonder why are the others coming here as we’ll.

  • Ruben

    While I think #3 is a straw man argument (since when did skin color matter more than spiritual giftedness and character?) and, per #9, some churches might need a 12-week preaching series on hell, I think numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 are awesome! This is, all in all a good and provocative article.

    Some churches stay small for BIG reasons. Paul, I think you’ve nailed them, by and large.

  • Erin

    I know you are trying to be funny, but some of these are just ridiculous. It would be more helpful to have shared things that might be more subtle. Thanks though.

  • rtgrandma

    Better yet, church regular attender, go visit a church where you know no one and their worship style is different and see how you are treated. It is eye opening. I’m a pastor’s grandkid and have been attending church 67 years and we have much learn about welcoming people.

  • LPB

    So many serious responses to a tongue in cheek article. Guess I would be convicted if any of these normally applied. My fav is number 5. Get a grip everybody and then check yourself. Hallelujah!!!!!

  • http://www.mattmorrison.org/ Matt Morrison

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen #9 done…not even kidding.

  • kiit Barnswell

    I get it,lol good word.

  • Mark

    Most tended to use the Good Friday sermon on Easter. By the end of the sermon, Jesus was still dead.

  • Dave

    #6 and #9…just don’t.

  • Norman

    Number 8. Done with the best intentions but embarrassing and always tells me that the leadership have little confidence in the meeters and greeters.