Visitors predictably arrive early. Even people who tend to be late to all kinds of stuff make a special effort to be on time when they first attend a church. This is because newcomers are usually experiencing anxiety about the new place and people. Will I know where to go and what to do? Will I be dressed properly? Will I find some people that I can easily identify with? So many sincere and reasonable concerns are going through their minds. They don’t want to compound their fears and problems by being late.
Wouldn’t it be cool if most of our existing church members considered what is going through the minds of our first-time guests?
But if members arrive after the class or worship service has begun, it will negatively impact the visitor’s view of our church and possibly factor into their decision about whether to come back again. But there’s another negative fallout when members are late.
If you come in late, it is impossible for you to serve the newcomers who are arriving early. How can you welcome them and help answer their questions and fears? They don’t even know where the bathrooms are! They don’t know what to do with their kids or where to take them. You could be a real help to newcomers by simply being a few minutes early and intentionally reaching out to them.
But when regular attendees routinely come in late, it sends messages to newcomers that are not good. It will look to them like you don’t value your church home, or you don’t value the time of others, or even worse – that you are not serious about the worship of God.
There are many repercussions for being late, many of which a lot of people have never considered.