The 1st Impression will be the Lasting Impression!
You only have one time to make a 1st impression. That one moment you can never get back. You do not get a “do over”. You can not push rewind on the magical “life remote control”. You can never change it once that moment has passed.
Think about it for a second. Let’s take that new restaurant that you discovered. You drive by it and it looks interesting. The type of food is what you like. You get the coupon in the mail so you decide to try it. You pull into the parking lot, make that anticipated walk through the front doors, and there it begins.
Your 1st Impression.
How the hostess greets you when you walk into the restaurant, significantly sets the tone for your entire experience. Did he smile? Did she look you in the eyes? How long did you have to wait for someone – anyone – to acknowledge you?
Your server’s first interaction with you is imperative. Did your sever great you immediately? Did you have to wait just to get water? Did you have your questions answered. Did your server smile?
Then you finally get your food. How long did you have to wait? Did you get what you ordered? How does the food look? How does the food taste? When the server delivered the food, did he smile?
There is an entire list of other first impressions we could look at. How clean was the restaurant? How clean were the bathrooms? Were the condiments filled? Was the silverware clean? This entire list will fill your 1st impression basket and quickly determine if you will EVER try the restaurant again.
Like it or not, the same thing goes for the church. People who walk into a church for the first time will have their 1st impression basket empty ready to be filled. They will be looking. Assessing. Judging. Evaluating. You don’t have to like it or even agree with it, but it is happening and you can’t stop it. What you can do, is make sure that there 1st impression is a positive lasting impression.
Do you have “PEOPLE” in the right “PLACE”? You should have the most engaging, friendly, smiling, personally engaging people in the places to interact with others. If you have someone that hasn’t smiled since 1975, move them – immediately!
Do you have a SIMPLE process to help people discover what your church is all about?
Do you have parking just for 1st time guests?
Do you have a simple process to check-in 1st time children?
Is every service treated like the first service?
Have you trained staff and volunteers to help keep the facilities cleaning? (It’s a Disney principle. Everyone is a janitor. Everyone picks up trash.)
Is your facility easy to navigate?
Are volunteers extremely visible to help answer questions?
Walk into your church with a guest for the first time. Look there their eyes. Ask very specific questions focused on what they noticed. Take notes!
Spend a weekend “watching”. Not running around, but just observing how the experience is for people.
Here are some questions for you to ask or think through.
What areas can be improved?
What specifically needs to be worked on?
Who needs to be replaced?
What systems are to complex?
What systems need to be created?
Where are the frustration points?
\\: What other areas should you be looking at? \\: What questions should you be asking?