Over the years that I’ve done church consulting, I’ve heard about (and heard personally) some surprising things that church members have said to guests. Here are a few of them:
- “Excuse me, you’re in my seat.” Our secret shopper wasn’t aware that everyone had an assigned seat.
- “Well, I never thought I’d see you in church.” I knew this first-time guest, and it was indeed surprising he was there – but it probably wasn’t best that the church member verbalized her surprise.
- “Women don’t wear slacks in this church.” This guest didn’t know the local rules, but she learned them quickly.
- “You’re late – you’ll need to sit in the front.” This usher was completely unhelpful to guests who actually had a good reason for being late.
- “We’ll take your children to children’s church while you go to worship.” It’s not a bad thing to help parents, but this volunteer assumed too much: that the parents wanted their children to go there, and that they would release their kids to someone they just met.
- “Our new pastor’s not very good.” This member was apparently not pleased with the church’s new leader.
- “If I’d known you were the guest preacher’s wife, I would have said something to you.” My wife was the guest preacher’s wife, and I was standing beside her. Neither one of us knew what to say.
- “I just want you to know that we started this church because we wanted to be hymn-singing, robe-wearing church in the community.” They were that church, and seemingly, this church member was responsible for guarding that commitment.
- “You can’t do this.” The member was letting the guest know that the church allows only members to take the Lord’s Supper, but her approach was unfortunate.
- “Please stand and tell us your name.” I didn’t think this happened anymore, but it does.
What other surprising things have you heard?