Becoming a Welcoming Church Chapter 4

This book is written by Thom Rainer entitled “Becoming a Welcoming Church.” As with the last book I will be adding a chapter a day for us to consider. I am in no way saying our church or your church if you are reading this is not welcoming – just something to think about. I am capitalizing the chapter sections.


The author begins by sharing an illustration from the first church he pastored. “The first Sunday I was serving as pastor, I asked one of the members a pretty basic question, Where is the restroom? He did not answer. So I asked again. He looked down at the floor and this time responded meekly, ‘We don’t have one.’

“Second, how does a church function without a restroom? I decided to ask the same member another question. “What do you tell guests where the restroom is? I asked. He responded, “We don’t have of those.”

That’s a terrible commentary on a church – no guests.


They obviously expected no guests he writes. I imagine we would agree if they had a guest, they were unprepared for them. He says many churches he visited were cluttered, dirty, and unsafe. Sometimes we can become so familiar with our surroundings we miss the obvious.


Here he simply asks questions such as are rugs and mats in good shape, are fire extinguishers visible, any frayed electrical cords, things along those lines that keep us safe.


“While many boomer kids were free to roam their neighborhoods and ride their bikes to school and the movies, the iGen kids are supervised at almost every moment. Their millennial parents, for the most part, do not want them out of their sight.

He suggests a comment on the church website explaining how we protect children at church.


Here are some of the most repeated comments from first time church guests:

  • Clutter, I felt like the place was a storage house for everything members didn’t want or forgot.
  • Scarcity of garbage cans, I had an empty coffee cup I took home because there was no place to dispose of it.
  • Odors, “There was s a weird musty smell.
  • Unstocked restrooms, “I checked the stalls there was no toilet paper in any of them.”
  • Paper signage, just tacky.
  • Out of date information, was two months old.
  • Dirty carpet,
  • Faded paint,
  • Torn and dirty pew cushions.


“As a prefatory note, I see no relationship in the size of a church and the safety and cleanliness of church facilities.” His thoughts follow:

  • They see the issue from a gospel perspective. Many visitors are not followers of Christ they want to see a demonstration of care.
  • They find champions, a person who is both passionate and accountable to ministry.
  • They focus on three distinct areas: cleanliness, safety, and security.
  • They have regularly scheduled check-ups in all three areas.
  • They listen to a secret guest.

If you have guests that do not return – there is a reason.


  1. If you were tor ate the cleanliness of our church on a scale of 1 to 10, with q0 the highest, how would you rate it? If not a 10, what would you do differently?
  2. How can cleanliness and safety be a gospel issue?
  3. What do you think millennial parents think of a church facility when they bring their children to church? What do you think the results are or would be?
  4. Has your church had a thorough safety inspection?
  5. Look at this verse in Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not the people. How do you relate this verse to the above notes?

Published by Pastor Larry

I came to Asbury in June 2020 right after COVID and enjoy being in this great church. We have several things going on that can be seen on our website @ We invite you to attend our service at 2704 South Highway W in Foley, MO. I am confident you will be blessed.

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