Be Our Guest (on the road edition)

I recently returned from a much needed vacation – ahhhh… However, I did sneak a little work-related stuff in on the way to and from the beach. My family and I were able to attend 4 different churches to get the feel for what they were all about (and to possibly borrow ideas). All were big (over 2000) and all utilized a contemporary worship, style, video, etc…

One thing that really stuck out and struck me was how big of a deal first impressions are. I’ll choose two of the different churches to explain…

In church number one, my family and I arrived early. We gravitated towards the info center, which was in the process of being readied with coffee, etc… We walked round the campus to check it out, and headed back as people started rolling in. When we got back to the info counter, there was a couple talking to the lone volunteer. There were no materials to check out, just a couple of laptops set up with what I’m assuming was the church’s website. The first couple left, the volunteer gave us a quick “How are you doing?” and then walked over to chat with another volunteer that had arrived, ignoring us completely (which was pretty aggravating considering that we were the only ones there and were clearly waiting to talk to someone). The coffee was apparently for them, and neither talked to us again. The service was getting ready to start, so we headed into the very large auditorium, being greeted very halfheartedly by the folks handing out worship programs.

In church number two, we saw clear signage (several signs, in fact) asking us to put our flashers on if we were first time guests for prime parking. We then walked to a tent that had been set up in front of the church for guests. We were warmly greeted by multiple people in clearly marked t-shirts. We were then given a welcome packet including a DVD of a special message by the senior pastor, as well as a t-shirt. One of those volunteers then personally took us inside, showed us around and bought us each a drink at the church’s coffeeshop. After spending more than 10 minutes with us, he headed back to the tent to greet other guests. As we moved around the lobby area and campus, we were warmly greeted multiple times (without it being too pushy). After the service, our host was waiting for us outside of the auditorium to connect and ask if we needed anything else (again, in a very natural and non-pushy way).
Two churches (both in the same city, actually) – I’d go back to one of them…

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