Every week we are holding worship services, we are preaching and teaching, we are singing and giving.
Everything we do makes sense to the regular attendee. They are not going to wander around looking for the worship center or the bathroom. They are not going to walk into your building and wonder if their kids stay with them or if they need to go to a completely different part of the building to check them in.
Something we all need to do from a church of 10 to 50,000 is assess our entire first impressions from when someone drives onto our property until they leave at the end of the service.
This is so important because the quality of your first impressions will directly correlate to how many first time guests you will ever see again.
Be as Clear as Possible
Before you begin your assessment one principle we all need to remember is to be as clear as possible with every segment of our first impressions.
For example when someone visits your website as a potential visitor are they immediately pointed to your exact location, your service times, and basic information about you worship services? Is this information easy to find and is it simple to understand?
Drive home this principle of being as clear as possible to your parking lot team, to your greeters, your kids check in team, your cafe workers, your ushers, etc.
Bring in a “Secret Shopper”
One of the first things to do in your assessment is bring in a “secret shopper”. This is someone who does not attend your church who would be seen as a first time guest at each of your interaction points.
Be sure to get a report of what you are doing well and what you are not. What was clear and what was not. What was welcoming and what was not.
Poll your First Impressions Team (Or Create One)
The leaders you have in place to oversee your greeters and other first impressions areas might have some good ideas that have not been communicated. tell them you are assessing the entire first impressions operation and see if they have any suggestions for improvements.
If you just read this and you are thinking you do not have any first impressions leaders, create some leadership roles.
Network with Other Church Leaders
This one is simple. Talk to other pastors about what they are doing to create an inviting and clear first impression for first time guests.
Once you have the report from your secret shoppers and each department under your first impressions umbrella make the necessary changes and then continually assess and improve your first impressions. I was in a church one time where I was told the first impressions did not need addressed because “the current policies were put in place ten years ago.” This is not a good attitude to have because culture will change, your church will change, and people will get stuck and complacent with old policies.
What Would You Add?
What are some additional lessons you can see from this Dr. King speech? Join the conversation and let us know. You can do so on social media: Join our Facebook Group, tweet us, or post on our Facebook Page.
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