5 Types of Church Visitors

One thing pastors love is church visitors. Really, what we like even more is church visitors who become regular church attenders, but that process begins with visitors. It’s always a mystery why some visit a church and never come back. Those reasons may be the subject of another post, but one thing I’ve learned, much of the chance for return depends on why the person chooses to visit in the first place.

I have discovered there are basically 5 types of visitors to a church:

Testers – These visitors are just looking around…perhaps for a new church…perhaps because they are dissatisfied where they currently attend church. They may feel they are not growing at their current church or they aren’t completely satisfied with the leadership, the programs or the opportunities for service available. If testers find what they are looking for they’ll be back, but most likely there is a specific fit they are seeking. I wouldn’t suggest altering things to keep them, but make sure their questions are answered.

Pleasers – These visitors are usually coming to appease someone who asked them. They have less interest in attending church than they have in satisfying the request of a spouse or friend. This is not a bad way to get them at first and I’m always happy to have them, but it is harder to get them to stick unless God moves in their heart for attending church to become their personal desire. For these visitors, the person inviting them is just as important as the visitor in keeping them, but help the pleaser feel welcome, don’t make them feel uncomfortable, and you’ve got a good chance of seeing them return.

Seekers – These are people who know they are missing something in life, but aren’t sure what it is. Church may simply be another option or it may be the only option, but these are the true unchurched. These visitors are a mission field. If we introduce them to Christ, they become forever loyal to the church where they found Him.

Jumpers – These visitors seldom stay long at one church. They get upset at something the church does, the church enters a building program that scares them away, or they simply grow bored. Likely they’ll only stick for a while at the new church too, so don’t be take it personal if they disappear, as it may not be anything you did or didn’t do. Enjoy them while they are with you.

Investors – Most likely these people moved to your community or some major issue caused them to leave their current church. These visitors are active church attenders looking for a new long-term home. They are ready to quickly commit and serve. It’s important to plug these people in as soon as possible.

Again, churches love visitors. In fact, we like any of these five types. Knowing why someone is visiting your church, however, often helps the way you respond to them and gives you a better chance of keeping them. I wouldn’t recommend you ask them which of these they are, but it’s good to have in the back of your mind as you get to know them.

Did I miss any type of visitor? Have you seen each of these?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • chaplain andrew says:

    samuel healing church international, now a registered ngo in uganda cordially calls for christian freinds to join in our mission of evagilism

  • kalungi says:

    can you vist my church

  • […] To get the full explanation of each of these five, check out Ron Edmonson’s great post HERE! […]

  • VAGABONDS – There are tribes who travel a lot officially. Each week (if not every month) they will be attending a new church across various towns they travel. (Typical of a employee working in a humanitarian industry.) I name this tribe as "vagabond". :):):). Appearing and disappearing …..

  • Melissa says:

    I was a 1st time visitor at Grace this past weekend. I don't quite think I fit into any of the categories listed. My background is as follows: I'm a member of a church here in town and attend another of different denomination (yikes, don't like that word!) and my children were baptized, and married, in the old country, family church which, by the way, is seeing fewer and fewer members and visitors alike. I'm think I might fit under the category of "taste tester". Every once in a while, I will venture to a new (for myself) service, the church could be in town or out of town. I really enjoy and seek what is being shared to believers and seekers alike, where there is prayer, preaching and singing going on.

    Thank you for a great visit to Grace. I will stop in again….I love to hear the story of Jesus… wherever it might be!

    • ronedmondson says:

      That's a great point. I was probably thinking more of the people who are coming looking for a new church or who don't currently have one, but you're right. Cheryl and I visit churches while we are out of town all the time and love experiencing church with other believers. Thanks for dropping in whenever you can!

  • Brian says:

    Ron, this was forwarded to me by a colleague… I think I can add 2 more…

    "FIXERS" – people with real pain. Divorce, drugs, family health issues. They will not tell you at first. In fact, they will tell you something way off. They come looking to God to get it all "FIXED." With time, patience, healing and grace…that happens.

    "SCAFFOLD-ERS" They dont' know they are and neither do you. Only God knows. They show up at your church just before something good happens in transition. They jump in and help with the event, project, season, etc and when the 'xairos' of God has ended, their company transfers them out of town. They leave with joy and the home folks will miss them. It is a great sign of the mystery of God when they show up!

    Brian

  • Brian Gigee says:

    Ron, thank you for your work and words in this Kingdom ministry we share… gigee

  • nance says:

    1. you have no idea why people come into your building, even if you think you do.
    2. you should treat them as if they belong, with LOve.
    3. if you preach the good news of Jesus then you are doing them a service.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Oh, Nance, but I think part of our job is to build relationships with them so we do learn their story…and why they came…and where they hope to go…and how they got there…and show them love….

      Only then will they want to hear the good news…

    • ronedmondson says:

      BTW, you have a very cool blog

  • bradshimomura says:

    Great list Ron! Love it!

  • ronedmondson says:

    Thanks!

  • @bhaynes22 says:

    Great advice,,, thanks for that info and how to deal with each type!

  • Adam Parker says:

    Wow, love that Ron. That makes total sense to me. We definitely have lots of visitors at our church right now (it's extremely exciting) but we are working to get them plugged in in a meaningful way. Would love to see a post on how you might do that (or what Grace does anyways).

    Great writing as always! And FIRST!

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