The lights are set perfectly, musicians have rehearsed well and executed the first song flawlessly, the countdown video cued on time, and yet, the bag of smelly garbage sitting just outside the front door of your church, or the grumpy parking lot person who didn’t even say ‘hello’ are the reasons that guests are already questioning whether or not they’ll be back next week.
First impressions happen within seconds, and a visitor has started to decide within the first 10 minutes if they’ll be back to your church.
If a new family arrives 10 minutes early for service or if it takes 10 minutes or more to walk from the car to the door, check in the kids and take them to class, then stop by the restroom on the way into your auditorium, the decision is already happening before the first note is sung or the first video is played.
Take a few moments to consider these questions:
“What do our guests experience before they reach our front door and how can we communicate that we are expecting guests? What is the first way that our guests start to build their first impression? How can we use that first step to let them know they are welcome?”
When it comes to first impressions, every second, every detail and every touchpoint matters.
Where are the first-time guest interactions (touchpoints) at your church? In the parking lot, at the front door, in your entrance, at your kids check in, the cleanliness of your restrooms, at your auditorium doors, the usher that seats them – all of these touchpoints happen before service starts.
As much emphasis as is placed on that perfect opening video or the intro to the first song, place that same level of emphasis on crafting the touchpoints so a first-time guest feels welcome, comfortable and is distraction-free to experience your church service and meet Jesus.