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August 2, 2012

You might well wonder how my rating system works. Here is an explanation-

Very poor

This would be a church that is locked and with no indication when it might be open, or how access can be obtained.


Somewhere open but where no effort had been made towards welcoming any visitors – eg. no signs to say church open, no sort of guide or history nowhere for prayers etc.


Deliberately vague! Simply because this covers quite a few churches. An OK church will be open, but there will be nothing to say that this is the case. There might be a guide book but little else. It is all about thinking what a church appears and feels like to a visitor. Is there a welcome? Is there information on when the church was built and how it has changed over the years? Does it communicate something about the Christian faith? Does it cater for someone who calls in wanting to pray for a crisis etc? And so on. There are variations with this rating , such as OK +


This is much better. Some thought and effort has gone into welcoming the visitor. There will be information about the church and about the Christian faith. A prayer board or votive stand to light a candle. Perhaps some interpretation of what a font is used for and so on. Many churches fall into this rating category.

Very good

This is a step on. I am looking for decent guide books, something aimed for children as well. Signs which say that the church is open and welcomes visitors. Also, some decent material of some sort about what the Christian faith is about. Interpretation is important also as many visitors will only have a vague idea what a church is for. Pictures of people are good, and of church activities, all of which show that the church is something alive and well and not just an ancient building. I feel that something to do with prayer is important. I have been reading the prayers people post on prayer boards and they are often very moving. I am looking for a response to these – prayers placed on an altar, or a sign which says these will be prayed for, anything that shows they are taken seriously.

Very, very good

Very few churches make this category, but a few do. This means that they have put a lot of effort into visitors with a full range of material. Stewards are useful too, but not essential. Generally this category is going to go to bigger churches, but not exclusively. I can think of small churches which I would give this category to.

This is the bare bones of my system. It isn’t very scientific and this is a large, subjective, element to it. But I am happy with that. I approach a church as an interested and reasonably knowledgeable person. I am really looking for how I am treated as a visitor. If the church is in itself interesting then so much the better, but every church has a story to tell and every church should point towards God in some way. Ministering to visitors is becoming increasingly important for churches in many areas. We are not an exclusive club for the like minded.


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One Comment
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