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Curb Appeal: Welcoming Visitors into a Clean Church

John Gilman June 29, 2016

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It’s easy to become complacent about the state of your church, as it often serves as your office and your home away from home. Even with the best cleaning and building maintenance staff, clean-up and up-keep of the building and the grounds can prove to be challenging. After a few months, you may not even notice the paint scuffs, drywall chips or weeds in the mulch beds out front, but your guests will.

That being said, it’s important to look at your church not only from your congregation’s point of view, but from that of your potential newcomers as well. Your members should look at your church as a peaceful place to escape the stress and clutter that fill their lives every day. The physical state of your church should reflect this sentiment. For newcomers, first impressions are everything. We often think about greeters and the “shake the hands of those around you” time as how we make a good impression on guests, but what would a potential new member think if they visited your church for the first time right now? Would you be proud of what they saw on their way in?

Think of the real estate market for a second. The house that has the curb appeal sells quicker and for a higher price than the house that has overgrown shrubs and trees, dilapidated siding and weeds in the mulch beds. Keeping your church tidy and clean can lead to higher attendance, increase retention rates and a greater sense of pride within your congregation. Members are also more likely to invite friends when they are proud of the church they attend.

So what can you do keep your church building and grounds looking the way it needs to?

Organize a church clean-up day. Engage the entire congregation via ChMS emails to inform and remind your members of the event. Encourage them to add it to their calendar. Share it on social media as well, and have small group leaders communicate the message.

Focus primarily on the problem areas. Maximize your efforts and accomplish a comprehensive clean up.

  • The main entrance is the very first thing people see when they come to your church. Make sure it’s clean. Remove weeds, mow the grass and make sure signs are clean and working.
  • Sidewalks and parking lots should be clean as well. Make sure you’re sweeping and removing trash. Fill potholes and cracks if needed. People aren’t going to come into your church if they can’t find a decent place to park.
  • Inside, are there holes or scuffs on the walls that need to be repaired or repainted? Are the floors dirty? Does tile need to be resealed?
  • If you have a child care facilities, how does it look? If your visitors have kids they’ll definitely want to make sure that there is a clean space for their kids to play and learn.
  • Your kitchen could probably use a deep clean and some organizing. Consider creating or updating an inventory list so you know what you have and what you’re missing.
  • Any other resources or facilities your church is fortunate enough to have can probably use at least a dusting. Make sure anything you would highlight on a tour of your facilities is it’s best.

These are all easy fixes, and with a collective effort of many people, won’t take long to accomplish and will help keep maintenance and cleaning costs down for your church.

Consider hosting these clean-up events at least once a year, maybe quarterly. Ideally you could host them before Christmas and Easter to make your church extra welcoming for new guests. In the summer a nice incentive to get people to come is to have a barbecue or potluck after the cleaning so you can share a meal after a couple of hours of tough work. Whenever you host them, clean up days are a great way to bring your church together. Encourage people to introduce themselves to someone new and give them icebreakers they can do to get to know each other while they work.

A clean and tidy environment coupled with an engaging community of believers makes for an enthusiastic and productive attitude among the church and its members. Use this to your advantage. The pride your members have in your church will show. With a sense of renewed pride in your church body, your members will be more open and willing to invite potential newcomers and members into the congregation.

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