Yesterday I spent the day visiting area churches. I was delivering promotional items and speaking to pastors about an upcoming event in Maury County. I visited about 25 churches and most were unfamiliar to me. I’d driven by them but had never stopped by the office. As someone who works in a church office five days a week it was interesting to experience it from the other side. My main observation is that church offices are not very welcoming. Here’s a few reasons why…
- You can’t find them. Few churches have directional signs in the parking lot and most doors to the church are unmarked. At more than one building there were cars in the parking lot but I never found the entrance to the office.
- When I did find the right door it was locked. I had to knock or push one of those intercom buttons and ask for permission to enter. What other office environment requires you to push a button and state your business before entering?
- The decor is not very inviting or welcoming. Most of it says, “We spent all the money on our sanctuary and couldn’t afford any comfortable chairs or nice pictures so here’s an old metal folding chair for you to sit in as you stare at the wood paneling.”
- Secretaries are too good at their jobs. I would ask, “Is the pastor in today?” They would reply…”What’s your name?””Is the pastor expecting you?” “Do you have an appointment?” “What do you want?” “Does he know what you want?” “Do you know the pastor?” (All are actual replies). I realize it’s their job to be a gatekeeper but I started to feel bad for infringing on the time of such a very important person.
The pastors themselves were usually friendly and welcoming. And the secretaries warmed up to me once they figured out I wasn’t selling anything or asking for money. But it got me to thinking about how churches conduct their offices. Why do we make them so hard to find? Why do we lock our doors and interrogate people before entry? Why do we decorate them like 1950s bomb shelters? Why are pastors so hard to see? I mean if ever there was an inviting and welcoming office environment, shouldn’t it be a church office?
Just some thoughts to ponder. By the way, Sherri, if you’re reading this I’ll still ask you to cover for me when the pictorial directory salesman comes around. 🙂