How to Wow!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had a meeting where we asked this question:

How do we WOW people when they first walk into our church?

My first answer is always that the Gospel is WOW enough! At the same time, I believe we should do all we can to welcome people in such a way that they are more open to the BIG WOW of the Gospel This is called Biblical Hospitality. (See my book Fusion for more).

I would encourage you to ask your staff this question, too. I asked it at an all-staff meeting and it led to a 15-minute brainstorming session. Great ideas came out of the meeting…and only about two (ok, maybe one) came from me. There’s a tip…

Since the focus of this meeting was how to wow ‘”from the street to seat,” we mainly focused on greeting people and directing them toward the bathrooms, lobby and children’s check-in.

Here are our (edited) thoughts:

  • Upgraded mints in women’s/men’s restrooms
  • Fun size chocolates in men’s restroom
  • Flowers in women’s restroom
  • Nicer soap in women’s restroom
  • Program above urinal in men’s restroom
  • Deodorizers for restrooms
  • Mouthwash in both restrooms with disposable cups
  • Plants (silk) in lobby and outside by door to soften the environment
  • Upgraded candy in lobby
  • Tape down the entrance “red carpet” with red tape
  • Scrolling marquee outside
  • Featured sermon series poster outside in showcase
  • Big individual bottles of water in lobby
  • Big cups for hot chocolate at refreshment table
  • Ushers walk through attenders and offer mints (before service)
  • Better trays for food items
  • Upgraded food: apples and bananas
  • Omelet bar
  • H&H bagels – the best bagels in the city
  • Toaster for bagels
  • Better cream cheese / different flavors / Philadelphia Brand
  • Carry food on trays to serve people seated / offer the tray full of pastries to seated attenders
  • Cardboard trays to carry food to seats
  • In Elevator: “This Week at the Journey” events
  • Recycle bins that show we recycle

In a later meeting, a few of us pulled together and decided which of these things we would do immediately, which ones we would do over the next few months and which we would never do. Here’s the final decision on each restroom:

Women: Bath & Body Works or similar soap & lotion, tissue, mouth rinse, and special canisters for other feminine products for better presentation, including tray with fine chocolates, flowers.

Men: Bath & Body Works soap, regular chocolates, mouth rinse, and possibly paper towel holder/tray. Coming attractions (Inside of program) posted at the urinals, and on stall doors.

At the end of the day, we implemented about 75% of the ideas. And guess what? It cost us just a few dollars to do everything. Yet our regular people noticed (our members were wow-ed!) and our guests took notice, too.

The general guest response was “what kind of church would do this for us?”

I want to be the kind of church that does whatever it takes to reach people and introduce them to the BIG WOW of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, what could you do to wow people when they first enter your church? What could you do this Sunday? Next Sunday?


P.S. This is one of several ‘advanced’ Assimilation strategies we discuss in The Assimilation Intensive – a twol day workshop that goes far beyond the regular Assimilation Seminar and the Fusion book. Click here to learn more.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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