A first-time guest wants to feel respected and welcomed. He wants to know that you are happy he’s there, and that you are serious about making sure he has a good experience. The way you, your team, and your regular attenders treat him and his family will tell him most of what he needs to know. Sadly, a large majority of American churches aren’t eager to welcome guests, much less make them feel at home. When a guest shows up, these churches have no idea what to do with him. The unfamiliar face is as intimidating to the church family as their faces are to him. We’ve all heard the stories, or witnessed services ourselves, where first-time guests were altogether ignored, or made to feel like they were in the wrong place. What do you think that communicates about God’s love? Do you think that guest would ever choose to return to such an environment, or ever return to another church again?
Deliver “Raving Fan” Service. The church is not a business, but if you want to learn how to make your visitors feel welcomed, it’s a good idea to take some cues from the customer-conscious service world. Good businesses understand that treating a guest with respect and making sure he has a good first experience is essential to winning a return visit. Shouldn’t churches be the ones teaching the business world about embracing and serving those who walk through our doors? This is where Biblical hospitality meets the business concept of customer service. Unfortunately, in most churches, the customer service aspect of ministry has been on the decline for way too long.
In Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard’s exploration of stellar customer service, he defines three secrets to creating environments that will wow your guests and make them feel like they’re being treated well. One of those secrets is to always “deliver your vision plus one percent”:
“Let’s look at it,” said Andrew. “The secret says two things. First, it tells you to deliver. Not sometimes, not most times, but all the time. Second it talks about ‘plus one percent.’ I’ll come back to that, but first of all we have to talk about delivery.”
“Consistency, consistency, consistency,” interjected Charlie. “Consistency is critical. Consistency creates credibility. My pro will explain how it works. Andrew, if you please.”
“With pleasure, Charlie,” said Andrew. “As Charlie told you, consistency is key to delivering Raving Fan Service. When you’re creating Raving Fans, it’s a fragile relationship. They’ve been burned before and don’t trust easily. You’re trying to pull them in and they’re usually trying to resist. Consistency will overcome resistance, but in the meantime, they’re watching like a hawk for you to mess up.”
If you create a “raving fan” in the pre-service, they will engage in the rest of your service with a heightened enthusiasm, which leaves them more open to hearing from God. When God entrusts you with first-time guests, you face an incredible responsibility. Creating an environment that makes your first-time guests feel both welcomed and respected is key to winning a return visit and beginning the process of assimilating them well.
Your partner in ministry,
P.S. I want to help you implement a proven, step-by-step Assimilation System that will help you deliver raving fan service! Assimilation is the quickest way to lead your church to grow – you’re basically just keeping more of the first time guests that God is already sending to your church.
In this powerful, easy-to-implement resource you will learn:
- How to WOW! first-time guests by the way they are greeted, directed, treated and seated
- How to effectively collect information from first-time guests
- How to follow up on first-time guests so that they are prayed for and invited back
- How to survey first-time guests
- How to treat and follow up with second-time guests
- How to move people toward baptism and membership
- How to develop a customized assimilation strategy
- …and much more!
This resource contains three hours of audio training, a listener’s guide, sample emails, surveys, letters, cards, and the actual 25+ page Assimilation Strategy we use each week at The Journey! Plus, with the Assimilation Seminar you can also receive a TWO FREE MONTH test drive in my new Renegade Pastors Network. If you are no longer content with average, then this is the network for you!
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