How to make Guests Feel Uncomfortable at your Church


It’s uncomfortable for a person who’s unfamiliar with God and church to go to church for the first time. Often times they feel as though they’re taking a huge risk by even showing up. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that churches do to make guests feel even more uncomfortable when they go to church for the first time. Here are just a few…

Use Insider Language

Churches are notorious for using cute insider language like the “Butterfly Room” for the 2-year-olds. Just call it the 2-year-old room, that’s going to help guests understand it and not feel like an outsider. No guest knows if their kid should go in the butterfly room or the lady bug room…they’re raising kids not bugs. Also stay away from acrostics…I know every good Christian in America should know what FPU means, but I’m telling you, people who are new to church have no idea what you’re talking about. And if it’s confusing to them it could be the difference in them leaning in towards Jesus or away.

Point them Out

New people love to be singled out and made the center of attention, so make sure you do something like have them all remain seated and have everyone greet them in the worship service at some point. I hope you know that I’m kidding…if you don’t, let me let you in on a little secret…I’m kidding. Don’t point out new guests. Instead think through creative and nonthreatening ways for guests to self-identify themselves and let you know they’re there.

Make it Confusing to Navigate the Building

Make sure that you don’t use clear signage throughout your building. Guests should just know where to go when they come to our church, and if they don’t it’s their own fault. If they came to church more often they’d figure it out. When guests don’t know where to park, don’t know which entrance to go in, and have a difficult time navigating the facility because you haven’t thought about that for them and helped them through great way-finding, that always makes an already awkward situation worse.

Don’t Update your Facilities

That church building that looks and smells like it’s fresh out of 1980…yeah don’t update it, it’s vintage. We don’t need to impress people with our building. We’re here to worship God, not a building. I don’t think church buildings need to be crazy, over the top impressive…but when a church facility is not on par with other public space in the community it’s going to make guests feel uncomfortable.

Have Weird People taking care of their Kids

It’s weird dropping off your kids with someone you’ve never met before. It probably even makes some people feel like bad parents. Dropping off a kid in a room that is dirty and has old carpet, where the toys aren’t clean or a room that smells bad can make guests feel very uncomfortable. Not to mention dropping off kids where there is only a teenager or a male volunteer in the room can plain creep guests out. Oh, and make sure you don’t change their kids diapers and give the kids back to the guests with a dirty diaper…that always makes guests feel comfortable (sarcasm intended).

Ever been uncomfortable visiting a church for the first time? What made it so awkward for you? What are some other things you’ve seen churches do to make guests feel uncomfortable? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your experience and observations!

Posted in Leadership


Why Stress can be a Church Leaders Best Friend

I came home the other day and my kids had a bowl of flour and a bag of balloons setting out on the kitchen counter. When I asked them what they were doing, they said they were, “making stress balls.” One of the kids had seen a stress ball that a teacher had at school and thought it would be cool to make their own. I get the teacher needing a stress ball…and I was thinking I might need one with the mess they were making…but kids? What do kids need with a stress ball?!?!?

While most people are trying to minimize or avoid stress in their lives, good leaders know that stress can actually be a good thing.

Bad Stress

I’m pretty sure that every reader inherently understands how stress can bring out the worst in us. It can influence to people make awful decisions, bring out unhealthy behaviors and turn good leaders into control freaks and micromanagers. There’s a lot of reasons people experience stress. They can be in a situation that is requiring either more of them than they have to give or less of them than they have to give. Both lead to stress and potentially poor behaviors.

Good Stress

Stress can also be a gift and has the potential to bring out the best in us. When the right amount, of the right kind of stress, is applied in the right way it can bring great focus. It can push us to make decisions we’ve been putting off. It can push you to come up with new solutions. It can make your strengths come alive in you and rise up to meet the stress and lead through it.

Posted in Leadership


10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real


Each month I curate the top 10 most popular blog posts I’ve shared. These are the articles that got had the greatest engagement in the past month. They were the most visited, shared, helpful or disagreed with. At any rate, thanks for staying in contact with me through engaging in the content on this site, I hope it’s been helpful to you! In case you missed any of them here they are all in one nice tidy place for you!

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

How Many People should your Church have on Staff?

Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.

4 Ways Churches Misspend Money

Churches get funny when it comes to money. Generally, churches have a hard time talking about money publicly and few have a clear generosity strategy. When it comes to financial planning and actually spending money in a way that gets them to the vision God’s called them to, the majority of churches I’ve interacted with are all thumbs.

4 Indicators your Church is Moving in the Wrong Direction

There are a lot of reasons why churches begin to decline and eventually die. Most don’t ever recognize it until they’re really stuck or worse it’s too late to even turn around. But there are some lead indicators that can be early warning signs that things are moving in the wrong direction.

Why Video Teaching Will Work in Your Town Too

When I consult with churches that are considering going multisite one of the key exercises I facilitate with their team centers around how they are going to approach preaching in their weekend worship services. It’s a big conversation and a decision that has significant implications to the model and approach that churches take when it comes to multisite.

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church 

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

Why People Don’t Invite their Friends to your Church

If your church is serious about growing and reaching new people you’ve got to figure out what is keeping people from inviting their friends. While many church leaders blame their people for not inviting their friends because they’re not “spiritually mature enough” or don’t have a “deep burden” for the lost I’d suggest it may be less complicated than that. It may be your fault.

How to Say No to Ministry Opportunities and Why You Should

One of the more difficult things you’ll ever do as a leader of a growing church or organization is to learn to say no to good opportunities.

When to Add Another Worship Service at your Church

Many churches are stuck in attendance simply because they haven’t maximized their current facilities and campus. Thinking about adding another worship service at your church? Here are five strategic concepts to consider before you do.

Video Teaching Versus Live Teaching in a Multisite Church

Since those early days the multisite movement has begun to grow up a bit and today about 50% of the 8,000 (ballpark) multisite churches are delivering teaching via video while the other 50% are using live teaching in their locations. But what are the pros and cons? Which model is best for your church?


Posted in Leadership


How Your Church’s Growth Can Out Pace Your Team


Most church leaders I talk with want their church to grow. But few of those same leaders are willing to change and do things differently in order to grow. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for your church to grow and everything stay the same. I know, it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t.

There are a lot of things that a church out grows as it grows. One of those things is often the church staff team.


The growth of your church has the potential to outpace the growth of your team. Beginning a new ministry, adding a new service time, building a new building, or starting a new campus all have the potential to be catalytic to growth at your church. The problem is that people don’t grow as fast as churches have the potential to. I’ve heard all kinds of stories of churches doubling over night, but when is the last time you doubled your personal leadership capacity over night?

Development Culture

Building a development culture will help you keep pace with growth for a while and will provide opportunity for your greatest capacity and highest potential leaders to rise to the surface. Development doesn’t happen in a classroom but in the “heat of battle.” Giving a young leader a big opportunity by throwing them in the deep end of the pool is a great opportunity to teach them how to swim. Preparation, opportunity and coaching are the greatest tools in the arsenal of development.

Outside Acquisitions

If you’re leading in a growing church eventually the pace of growth at your church will force you to recruit talent from the outside to add to your team. Don’t be afraid of hiring people who have more experience, more expertise, more exposure, and a greater capacity than your current team. Great hires should intimidate you a bit and push you to grow. To keep pace with growth you’ll need to bring in outside talent or you’ll allow your team to be the lid to growth.

Posted in Leadership


[FREE Webinar Replay] Breaking Barriers: Reaching 2,000 and Beyond

One of the most obvious signs of stuckness in churches is declining or plateauing attendance. All churches hit growth barriers—even the large ones. The question is not if growth stalls, but how to respond when it does. The good news? You aren’t alone.

The Unstuck Group recently hosted a webinar, “Breaking Barriers: Reach 2,000 & Beyond,”  in which Tony Morgan (Founder and Lead Strategist at the Unstuck Group), Amy Anderson (Director of Consulting at The Unstuck Group), Chad Moore (lead pastor of Sun Valley Community Church) and Matthew Cork (lead pastor of Friends Church) discussed four reasons large churches hit growth barriers, and how pastors can lead their churches forward.

In this webinar, they talked about:

  •      How to Recognize a Toxic Culture & Turn It Around
  •      Overcoming a Leadership Void in Your Staff and Volunteer Teams
  •      Multisite Model Missteps & How They Set You Back
  •      Complexity Creep & Why It’s Undermining Your Vision

If you missed the webinar you’re in luck! You can watch the replay for FREE by following this link!

Posted in Leadership
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