It’s true: I think First Time Guests are a big deal. I believe that they should be an honored part of any church’s weekend. But a First Impressions team done well won’t just benefit the guests. It’ll reap dividends for your long-time members, as well.
This was proven in a recent email from one of our Summit members to one of our First Impressions Directors. The (slightly edited) email is reprinted with his permission:
First Impressions runs so smoothly that I don’t notice what an amazing job you all do, and I think that’s the point. Further, you have done such a great job for so long, that it’s my default to expect an seamless experience. Thus, I would definitely be more inclined to notice First Impressions if they didn’t do a great job rather than if they did do a great job, which is probably the opposite of many churches.I know your tagline is “the sermon starts in the parking lot,” which probably holds true for people who are first timers or relatively new to the Summit. I think it holds true for us regulars also, but for a different reason. The fact is that I don’t think about the sermon starting because I’m ushered in by a gracious, friendly, smiling parking attendant who is standing in the rain in 40 degree weather. However, the fact that that parking attendant is doing such a great job allows me to be thinking (anticipating or continuing to reflect on) about the sermon and the worship and the fellowship – not about where to sit, how to get to the bathroom, [or] the long crazy line full of people who don’t know how to drive out of a parking lot. First Impressions does such a great job, that my focus from the time I arrive on the property to the time I leave can be on the sermon, the worship, the fellowship, and my great Savior who makes all of that possible.
(photo credit: Brett Seay)