Thom Rainer is best-selling author and church growth consultant. Recently, he published some results of his research that shocked the evangelical world–it seems that church visitors hate — hate — the meet and greet.
In an admittedly unscientific Twitter poll, Rainer asked what a church does (or doesn’t do) that drives off first time visitors. By far, the number one answer was the meet and greet.
This response was my greatest surprise for two reasons. First, I was surprised how much guests are really uncomfortable during this time. Second, I was really surprised that it was the most frequent response.
So he followed up with a poll asking why. Here are the results —
- Many guests are introverts.
- Some guests perceive that the members are not sincere during the time of greeting.
- Many guests don’t like the lack of hygiene that takes place during this time.
- Many times the members only greet other members.
- Both members and guests at some churches perceive the entire exercise is awkward.
- In some churches, the people in the congregation are told to say something silly to one another.
- Not only do some guests dread the stand and greet time, so do some members.
So I’ve not been a guest at a new church I was considering joining in a very, very long time. I’m sure I’ve lost all perspective. And I was astonished at this result.
So what do you all think? And if you don’t like the meet and greet — as a visitor — what might be done to make it better? Or should it be tossed entirely?
Do some churches do this well enough? Or do all churches fail at this?