We all want guests to visit and stay at our church. Our well-produced websites, social media, and flyers will lead them to our building (along with an excellent, word of mouth invitation), but our foyer (or lobby) is the place that gives a guest one of their first impressions. We must get it right!
In the first 3 minutes inside the door of your church, guests need to feel welcome. Even with a guest services squad of welcomers, they still need these 4 things. Consider making these changes this week:
- Add a smell. Every brand should try to affect all the senses. Often, church buildings have a musty smell that creates an unfriendly feeling. There are lots of smells that you can add to make people feel welcome and cover the odors. Research says that bakery and coffee smells are some of the most welcoming. Resist floral smells since they can set off allergies and food smells don’t feel like they’re trying to cover up odors like those overly artificial flowery smells. What’s even better? Add bakery items and coffee service to your foyer (for truly natural smells). It’ll attract millennials and add energy to your congregants!
- Have these 4 signs. Consider why a guest needs signs. Primarily they need to know where the basics are. So make sure you have clear Bathroom, Children’s Area, Guest Services, and Worship Center directional signs. Ensure that they are visible above the heads of people when the foyer is congested. Keep them large, simple, sans-serif font, with as much contrast in colors as possible. They don’t need your logo on them but they should still feel like your church’s brand by using your colors and fonts — and make them look like all your other signs around your church campus!
- Consider adding music. When someone steps out of their vehicle in your parking lot, people want to start experiencing your church. The best way? Extend worship to the curb. Your foyer should be part of that. Before service, usher people into worship with appropriate music that transitions them from their busy lives into the worship center. When they leave? Consider the music that will transition them to classes or into the parking lot. You want everyone to feel like your entire campus is coordinated with excellence. Don’t have it too loud or too soft. Start paying attention to other public foyer areas and notice the levels and genres. Make sure your music feels like your church brand!
- Talk to people on the way out too. Most churches have guest welcomers when people enter the foyer. If you don’t when they leave, you risk a guest getting to their vehicle with a sense of being alone (and not welcomed). Have people in the foyer available for directions, information, or even spiritual decisions. But most of all? Have them extend your church brand (and emotion) all the way to their vehicles. Have people along the way to say “thank you for worshiping with us today” or “we’re looking forward to seeing you again soon!”. Also, make sure your guest service people can recognize the signs of a visitor and approach them to ask if they can help them find something. Or even better, have them reach out and connect them with a new friend.