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

Today I’m wrapping up a series of posts about the importance of the first few minutes of a newcomer’s experience at your church (click here for Part 1Part 2 and Part 3).

We’ve been looking at the fact that 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.

And today we’re going to look at the final element in the “Pre-Service” period – how guests are SEATED.

The first time my wife and I went to a Broadway show, we saw the value of a good usher in action.

From the moment we entered the theater, we were literally ushered to our seats.

If you’ve ever experienced Broadway, you know the drill: The usher who scans your ticket points you toward the correct entrance, where another usher points you toward the correct aisle, where yet another usher walks you to your row and motions to your seats.

We knew that as long as we had our ticket out for the ushers to see, they would do all the work. We were along for the ride.

On the other hand, we’ve been to sporting events and concert venues where we missed the first 15 minutes because we were still trying to find the correct wing, level, section and row for our seats. We were on our own, juggling concession purchases and upset that we were missing something we had paid to see. There was certainly no usher to make sure we had a smooth experience.

Here’s the difference in thinking: Broadway shows run every night. They want to ensure you’ve had an experience that will keep you coming back for more.

They want you to tell your friends. Event venue proprietors aren’t nearly as concerned with earning your repeat business. They know that their draw is only as strong as that night’s particular entertainment. You’ll be back when there’s an act you want to see, in spite of customer service conditions.

When it comes to providing service to our first-time guests, we need to be continually aware that our goal is to make them as comfortable and happy as possible.

We want them to come back every week. We want them to bring their friends. We’d do well to adopt the mindset of Broadway’s bright lights rather than that of self-service stadiums.

So… What can you do about the way people are SEATED at your church as you prepare for Easter in exactly one month?

Make sure your ushers know to find first-time guests (or people who look uncomfortable) good seats, close to the front

The thinking behind Greeted, Directed, Treated and Seated may be a paradigm shift for you.

Until this point, your plan for first-time guests may have been simply to get them through the door and make your impression with the service itself.

While that sounds good in theory, research has shown time and time again that you don’t have that luxury. Those newcomers will likely make a decision about their return visit before they make it to their seats, based on the subconscious and conscious tools of evaluation God has blessed them with.

You can acknowledge your guests as the gifts that they are by having a pre-service system in place that will far exceed their expectations and create that elusive positive first impression.

You’ll excite them to want to visit your church again and again so that they can ultimately learn about the excellence, graciousness, hospitality and generosity of the One after whom you are modeling the system of their assimilation.

P.S. Are you ready to learn a proven, step-by-step system for helping First-Time Guests become Fully-Committed Members of your church?

Join me for The Fusion Webinar on Tuesday, April 5th at 2pm Eastern!

Reserve your spot today and Save $20.00 at the Super Early Bird rate – PLUS, receive Over $160.00 in FREE Bonuses!

Click here to Register Now.

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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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