Flowers, Grocery Stores, and a Welcoming Entryway: How Guests Perceive a Church’s Freshness

This is one of those (few) times when I need to reference an article I’ve read in a #NoCamo post and I DIDN’T save it somewhere.

A few weeks ago, I read an article on the rise of floral departments in grocery stores. As the comedian Henry Cho so aptly put it, these floral departments are the haven of men in trouble with their wives and girlfriends. But I digress.

The article stated that these mini flower shops usually do not turn profits, nor is that their ultimate goal. As it turns out, the purpose of these departments is to get the grocery customers thinking about FRESH things. If customers are presented fresh things as they enter the store, they are more likely to believe that more fresh things are contained within the store, which, of course, is the belief that grocery operators want their clientele to have.

This got me thinking about the first impression guests get when they arrive at our churches before worship.

I am of the opinion that one of the most important areas of focus in churches with regards to appearance is often the area most often ignored – the entryway, foyer, lobby, or whatever-you-call-the-area-just-beyond-your-front-door.

I have had the privilege of working around a number of unbelievers, and I have heard on more than one occasion that people that go to church are unfriendly, even hateful. Obviously, they non-church-goers have had bad experiences with church (or people that go to church), or maybe just have unfair preconceived notions about what we do in the places we gather to worship. If a friendly atmosphere and a smiling face can be found right inside the front door, a preconceived notion could be disarmed.

Having played an integral part in a foyer redesign, I can tell you that there are a lot of factors that have to be considered when setting up an entryway. Traffic flow. Seating. Ammenities. Noise control and lighting. But these elements are worth consideration.

I am not at all suggesting that a pleasant entryway will compensate for any misgivings an unbeliever or unchurched person. But if there is SOMETHING that can be done, shouldn’t it be done?