Even though Walt Disney World in Florida will welcome over 52 million guests this year, it doesn't mean everyone likes going there.
The same thing could be said about churches. While millions of people attend church, there are just as many, if not more, who do not.
And believe it or not, there are some similar reasons why people don't attend either place.
5 Reasons Why People Don't Go to Disney World—or Church
- It's too crowded. Disney World gets very, very crowded, so crowded that it's hard to navigate around the park at times. Not to mention needing fast passes just to be able to get on your favorite ride. I was there recently and without a fast pass, the wait was four hours to get on one of the Avatar rides.
People hate to wait in line. If your check-in line is slow, people may not come back. If your auditorium or kid's areas are 85% full, then you will plateau and stop growing. If parents have to wait in line for more than a minute or so after service, they may not be back.
If parents see rooms that are so full of kids that it has turned into crowd control, they may not come back.
If parents walk into a nursery that is short-staffed and overcrowded, they probably won't bring their baby back.
Take a look at your ministry. Are there any areas that are too crowded? This can be due to lots of kids or having to combine several ages into one room due to lack of volunteers.
- It's too hot. Except for November to February, Disney World is very hot and humid. Some people do not like to be uncomfortable, and so the heat and humidity keep them away.
Churches can also do things that make people uncomfortable. Not enough parking. Having to walk a long way through the rain to get inside. Messy bathrooms. Having to turn around and shake hands with people during worship. The list goes on.
- It's too expensive. Yes. It is expensive to go to Disney World. At the time of this writing, a one-day pass can be as much as $129. Add the expensive food on top of that, and you've got a hefty bill. Some people think they simply can't afford to go because of this.
Money issues can also keep people away from church.
"I need to give 10% of my income to the church? Are you kidding me? I can barely pay my bills as it is. I can't afford to do that."
"All the church cares about is money."
Asking for people to give can turn some people off.
- They had a bad experience with someone who works there. The majority of Disney employees are well trained and offer excellent customer service. But occasionally an employee is having a bad day or gets stressed out and is short and rude to a guest.
People remember this, and some decide to not return because one person was rude to them. No one owns the guests, but everyone does own the moment they are with the guests. Above the rides, food and entertainment, people will remember mostly how you made them feel.
This applies to churches as well. You can have the greatest facilities, coolest worship leader, most dynamic pastor and free coffee to boot. But if your volunteers are rude to a guest, the person will probably not be back.
- They are too busy doing other things. Some people are so busy doing other things that they can't find the time to go. It may be their kid's sports that dominates their time. It may be another vacation place like Universal Studios, a water park, the beach or the mountains.
Disney World knows it has competition for people's time. So, it's constantly updating its rides and attractions and adding new ones. Why? So people will return to the park. For this to happen, Disney World knows it has to stay fresh and relevant.
Churches face the same dilemma. Families are extremely busy with school, sports, clubs and other things that vie for their time. Attending church can get pushed down on the list and become just another option on Sunday ... if nothing else is going on.
So there you have it, five reasons why some people do not go to Disney World or your church. I would encourage you to sit down with these five things and strategize how you can take away these reasons so families will attend your church more often.
Note: If you haven't read the best-selling book If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry, now is the time to get it, available at this link.
Dale Hudson is a ministry builder. As a children's pastor, he has helped build some of the largest and fastest-growing children's ministries in the country. At Cross Church, he led the children's ministry to double in size. At Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, he helped the church grow from 8,000 to 16,000 in four years with the majority of the growth coming from reaching unchurched families.
For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.
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