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Unwelcome 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors

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50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors
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This excellent easy-to-read book comes from a Protestant perspective, but is just as relevant for Catholic parishes. We highly recommend it!

— Paul Canavese, director of The Pastoral Center

Walking into a church for the first time can be scary.

Are you making your first-time guests feel welcome? Or are you driving them away-unintentionally-with bad signage, reserved seating, clunky communication and more?

In this practical book, Jonathan Malm examines 50 ways churches make first-time visitors feel unwelcome. The transgressions range from insider lingo to awkward transitions, a cold congregation to the over-eager greeter.

With all 50 church faux pas, Jonathan suggests ways to not only fix the problem, but also infuse excellence into the situation so churches can put their best foot forward with first-time guests. A few simple changes can help your church roll out the welcome mat for your guests.

First Impressions
1. The Locked Door
2. The Signs
3. The Too Welcome
4. The Lobby
5. The Full Parking Lot
6. The Reserved Parking
7. The Dirty Church
8. The Helpful Greeter
9. The Pastor’s Dress Code
10. The Reserved Seating
11. The Full Service
12. The Empty Service
13. The Late Volunteers
14. The Ambient Light
15. The Question of Children
16. The Trustworthy Childcare Worker
17. The Overlooked Odor
18. The Greeter Gauntlet
19. The Cold Congregation

20. The Unskilled Worship Band
21. The Projected Lyrics
22. The Bad Attitude
23. The Public Rebuke
24. The Over-Eager Worship Leader
25. The Energy of the Room
26. The Special Song
27. The Invitation to Worship
28. The Awkward Transition

29. The Tardy Guest
30. The Early Start
31. The Foreign Language
32. The Unhelpful Critic
33. The Not a Normal Sunday
34. The Pre- and Post-Service Moments
35. The Absent Pastor
36. The Cultural Reference
37. The Simple Menu
38. The Weird Class

39. The Hype
40. The Over-Stuffed Bulletin
41. The Out-Dated Online Info
42. The Wrong Location
43. The Website Photos
44. The Forgotten Social Media Account
45. The Unwanted Volunteer
46. The Biblically Illiterate Guest
47. The Long-Winded Pastor

The Big Picture
48. The Weird Stuff
49. The Perfectly Imperfect
50. The Why

Appendix: Secret Shoppers

Format: Paperback book
Product code: IC355966
Dimensions: 8" x 5"
Length: 176 pages
Center for Church Communication
ISBN: 9781502355966
Written by Jonathan Malm and Kem Meyer


In Unwelcome, Jonathan does a great job of guiding you to think through what intentionality in ministry looks like for your church as you welcome first-time guests.
Tony Morgan, Founder & Chief Strategic Officer of The Unstuck Group
Unwelcome is the tale of two imaginary churches. One sends visitors running for the doors, the other has them anxiously awaiting Sunday so they can return. Reading and applying the practical principles Jonathan shares in this book will help you move from being the former church to becoming the latter one.
Justin Wise, Founder of Think Digital
The mission of the church is to make disciples. It's a shame when unintentional mistakes cause us to scare guests away and miss our calling. In Unwelcome, Jonathan helps us identify those issues and gives us insight into how to overcome them.
Chuck Scoggins, Executive Director of the Center for Church Communication
Jonathan Malm gives us 50 very practical ways to avoid some of the mistakes churches are making all over the country. Read these. Share them with your teams. Coach on how to avoid them. Then watch people connect and grow.
Shawn Wood, Lead Pastor of Freedom Church
It’s easy to point out mistakes in the church that drive people away. But Unwelcome goes one step further and shows you the solution to those mistakes
Greg Atkinson, Author, Speaker and Campus Pastor at Transformation Church
My first reaction was to begin counting how many copies I would need for the pastors and staff I work with. I'm excited about sharing and discussing this book with them.
Scott McClellan, Communications Pastor at Irving Bible Church
Read Unwelcome for rueful good laughs and wise counsel, then get to work making your church more welcoming.
Meredith Gould, Ph.D., Author of The Social Media Gospel