The Power of a First Impression – Part 3 of 4 (Assimilation and Easter)

Today I’m continuing a series of posts about the importance of the first few minutes of a newcomer’s experience at your church (click here for Part 1 and Part 2).

In fact, a First-Time Guest knows whether or not they’ll return to your church in the first seven minutes of their initial experience at your church.

That’s before they hear the music, before the message has begun – which means you should be very concerned about what happens to your guests “pre-service.”

During this “Pre-Service” time period, four helpful focus areas are how a person is Greeted, Directed, Treated and Seated, and today we’re going to look at how they’re TREATED.

First-time guests want to feel respected and welcomed.

They want to know that you’re serious about making sure they have a good experience. The way you, your team and your regular attenders treat guests and their families will tell them what they need to know.

If possible, providing food is one of the best ways to show your guests you care, and it’s a sure way to put them at ease.

The late food writer James Beard once said, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” It also acts as a welcome, comforting treat in any situation.

When done well, food can really “wow” your guests, but when done poorly, it turns them off.

A few words of advice: Don’t skimp on food. This is not the area to try and save a nickel. Don’t cut things in half to make them stretch. Don’t glare at the person who takes three donuts.

Food is your chance to show unchurched people that you care enough to offer them something for free that will meet a need.

Quality, not extravagance, is the key.

So, what can you do this week to “treat” your First-Time Guests?

P.S. To maximize your church’s Assimilation System and drastically improve the number of First-Time Guests who return and ultimately become Fully-Committed Members of your church – check out The Assimilation Intensive.

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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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