I love people watching. I enjoy going to places that have mobs of people and watch how people react to certain things. I enjoy going to other churches and watching how congregation members react to visitors. I really enjoy watching the visitor, once they come into a new church, begin to try and sort out where they are and where they need to go to drop off their kids, find the restrooms, get themselves to the sanctuary and so on.
While trying to figure out all of these decisions, visitors eventually end up asking questions to those who appear as though they know what they are talking about. It is in these moments I will either laugh to myself or want to cry. Not so much in the questions asked, but more in the way they are answered verbally and with non-verbal language.
You can always find those people who have grown up in that church or have been there for a while just by how they describe where something is. The terminology they use, the vocabulary they use, or the descriptions they give.
So next time some one comes to you and asks, “How do I get to the place where I can drop off my kids?” Don’t just look at them and say, “Go down to the Liberty room turn left. Then go in front of the Space Invader Chapel and turn right. After that look for a Tour Guide that can check you in at our CS check in station…”
Instead just tell them (if you can show them personally or hook them up with someone to get them there)… Go to the end of this hall (not Liberty room which means nothing to them) turn left. Then go to the big room at the end of the hall (not Space Invader Chapel, how do they know what that room is?) and turn right. Look for someone wearing a bright shirt with a name badge (not tour guide). You get the idea.
Learn to just say it. Look over all your advertisements. Look over your mission statements, vision statements, bulletins etc. and see it through the eyes of your visitors. Can’t we move back to calling a bathroom a bathroom, instead of a P.P.D (personal private depository) or whatever lingo we may have that only makes sense to those who titled it?