There are no second chances to make first impressions. The count down begins as guests drive onto your parking lot. Use these questions to evaluate the impression guests get when driving into the church parking lot.
- What is the first thing they see coming in?
- Do they see signs or someone showing them the designated guest parking and where to enter the building?
- Do they see a clean, well-maintained building from the outside?
This is just the first few minutes into the "First and Ten Impressions." How are you doing so far? Next, the guests will be coming through a door. When they approach, the door, there are several questions that need to be answered.
- Is there someone at every entrance to greet guests with a warm, friendly, and caring heart?
- Are the greeters knowledgeable about directions and information about the church?
- Are there signs and information directing them to the Welcome/Information Center?
This is the half-way point of the "First and Ten Impression." Are your guests still with you? Now comes a pivotal area in the whole "First and Ten Impression" strategy. The Welcome/Information Center must be exactly what the name suggests.
- Are the greeters welcoming and fully-informed about the church, times for events/activities, Sunday School classes, facilities, and worship information?
- Are people prepared to walk guests to their classes whether that means walking over to the preschool, children, student, or adult area?
- Do the Sunday School classes have people designated to welcome new guests when they arrive?
For many churches, first-time guests attend worship before attending a Sunday School class. Because most of the first-time guests you have come through your Worship Service, you will want to make sure that worship experience is a positive one.
- Are there ushers who provide a worship guide (for some this is still called the bulletin) and escort guests to seats?
- Are your ushers assigned to a specific section and spending time getting to know those who sit in those sections?
- Are the ushers introducing the guests to those seated around them?
James Walker is the Education Ministry Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN. James and his wife Jennifer serve as Sunday School leaders at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee. They have two children and their family is very active in making Christ known in the community.