I could see the church building from the street. I could even see the parking lot. What I couldn’t see was how to get from here to there.

I was in the midst of a Sunday morning consultation and ten minutes after worship began, I strolled through the building to check on the status of the greeters (they’d all left their posts). However, in one of the halls I nearly bumped into a young couple who looked confused. “Can you point us to the auditorium? We’re visiting and can’t find our way.”

The older gentleman was clearly uncomfortable and nearly panic stricken. He was scanning the walls and the entrances to the hallways but was clearly not finding what he was looking for. A church hostess sidled up to him as asked if he needed assistance. He turned all sorts of beet red at her question. He tried to whisper, but only succeeded in hissing, “I can’t find the restrooms!”

Hey church … where’s your sign?

Good church signage is one of the most important hospitality tools, presuming you want to turn first-time visitors into returning guests. Here’s a quick check-list to compare your church’s signage to the ideal:

  • Street signs pointing the way to the church
  • Signs pointing the way to the driveway
  • Message board signs with invitations, not cute and clever (but 100% pointless) quips
  • Visitor parking signs … and vertical or feather banners that can be seen from across the parking lot
  • Handicapped parking signs
  • Prominent signs pointing the way to the FRONT or MAIN entrance
  • Greeters standing outdoors at least 15 minutes prior to worship
  • Greeters standing outdoors at least 10 minutes after worship has begun
  • Prominent internal signs pointing the way to: (1) Worship Center; (2) Restrooms; and (3) Nursery/Childcare
  • Visible signs to the above locations within eyeshot in every hallway and large room throughout the church
  • Perpendicular signs for key rooms in all hallways
  • Framed pedestal signs for clear event directions
  • Large sign above and/or on the Welcome and Information Kiosk

It’s a rare church that has taken signage seriously enough for the sake of their first-time guests. But a lost visitor is one that’s unlikely to return.

Need help raising your hospitality quotient? We have tools and resources that can help you increase your first-time visitor return rate to over 50 percent. The Effective Church Group is here to serve you.

Contact us to speak with one of our consultants.