This Sunday I’m going to be visiting your church for the first time. I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m coming to see for myself. Here are a few things that you might like to know about me before this Sunday:

 1. Remember that I don’t know what to expect and am probably a bit nervous about your church.

2. A friendly “Hello, it’s good to see you today” goes a long way.

3. Thanks for reserving a few parking spaces for visitors.

4. If my children are with me, I need to know two things. Where are the bathrooms and where do I take my children?

5. Be friendly but don’t overdo it. Don’t smother me, follow me around, or invade my space.

6. It’s easy to get lost in a new church. Signs help a lot.

7. A greeting at the beginning of the worship service helps me know what to expect.

8. I might attend a visitors reception after the service if it doesn’t last too long, if the location is easy to find, and if I’m not the only one there.

9. It’s a good thing if you offer a free CD of the sermon that I can pick up before I go home.

10. If you see me but don’t recognize me, go ahead and say “Hi.” It will do us both good.

11. Don’t be surprised if my first impression comes not from what happens on Sunday but from your church’s website. You do have a website, don’t you?

12. Treat me as a person, not a prospect. Are you glad to see me even if I don’t visit your church again?

13. Don’t be offended if I don’t give you my personal information the first time I visit. If I like the church, I’ll come back. When I come back a second or third time, I’ll give you my address and phone number.

14. Please don’t single me out during the service. It’s hard enough to visit a new church without being made to feel strange.

15. I’ll be glad to meet the minister as long as I don’t have to make any promises to return.

16. If this sounds like I don’t like your church, that’s not true. I probably will enjoy your church very much, but I’m not going to decide where to go to church lightly or quickly. I’ll need to go home and think about it and perhaps talk it over with a friend.

17. I need to worship God. That’s why I’m coming this Sunday. If your church is filled with God-worshipers, I will no doubt feel drawn to them and to the God they worship.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.