CNLP 132: Greg Atkinson on The Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper: What People Are Looking for When They Come to Your Church

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Would you ever send a secret worshipper to your church service? What do you think they’d find?

We’re talking to Greg Atkinson who is a secret worshipper to large churches all around the U.S., and hear some of the things he’s seen and discovered that churches are doing great – and churches could do better.

Welcome to Episode 132 of the podcast.

Greg’s Website

Greg on Twitter

Secrets of a Secret Shopper: Reaching and Keeping Church Guests by Greg Atkinson

Free DownloadGreg’s Connection Card Template

The Canadian Church Leaders Conference Barrie, ON; June 8th – 10th

ReThink Leadership Atlanta, Georgia; April 26 – 28, 2017

TrainedUp Leadership

3 Insights from This Episode

1. First impressions start with your website. 

Just over ten years ago, first impressions started when people pulled into your church parking lot for the first time. Now, the first impression you make on new guests is through your website. Think about it, when was the last time you went somewhere completely new and you didn’t look it up online first?

Different website pages are important to different groups of people. Potential first-time visitors who are churched will probably look at your beliefs page and history page. First-time visitors who are unchurched will be looking for any information that can help put them at ease and let them know what to expect. This can include “new here” pages, about pages, staff bios (with photos) and vision.

If your website is welcoming and helps people feel like the know what to expect, they are exponentially more likely to turn into first-time visitors.

2. Always expect guests. 

All people want to be served well and loved well when they go to church, and first-time visitors are no exception. Walking through the doors of a new church can be intimidating—ease their nerves by making it clear where first-time visitors can go to receive information or talk to a staff member. When giving information out to newcomers, remember that less is more. Give them enough information to answer their main questions, but don’t overwhelm them with information

Lastly, remind your staff that every Sunday is somebody’s first Sunday. Their first 10 minutes in your church is critical to let first-time visitors know that you care for them and that you prepared for them. If you’re not expecting guests, you’ll stop getting them

3. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect. 

One of the most important things you can do is have first-time guests fill out some type of connection card. It’s critical to know who they are, how they found you and what they’re looking for. Taking the opportunity to learn more about them increases the odds of them becoming second-time guests.

Greg graciously provided a connection card template for podcast listeners. Click here to download.

Quotes from This Episode

CNLP 132: Greg Atkinson on The Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper: What People Are Looking for When They Come to Your Church Click To Tweet CNLP 132: Greg Atkinson on The Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper: What People Are Looking for When They Come to Your Church Click To Tweet CNLP 132: Greg Atkinson on The Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper: What People Are Looking for When They Come to Your Church Click To Tweet

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Next Episode: Todd Adkins

The vast majority of churches struggle to recruit and keep volunteers and even staff. As a result, they can’t grow or expand. Todd Adkins explains why most church leaders struggle to develop leaders and explains how to turn that around.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 133.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

And with another Sunday morning coming up, it'll just have to wait until next week when you have a few minutes to figure it out.

Now ask yourself this:

What would it feel like to have those answers at your fingertips 24/7?

Whether it's reaching new people, improving your preaching, increasing volunteers, refreshing your vision, engaging your staff, or any of the countless challenges we face as church leaders, The Art of Leadership Academy will equip you to lead your church with confidence and clarity.

Between comprehensive church leadership courses, live coaching calls, staff and volunteer training resources, and direct access to an online community of senior-level church leaders, you'll get the exact insights and answers that fuel your church for growth.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.