Spoiler: this is not an exposition of Romans 16:16 (the life verse of single Christian men). I’m not advocating for awkward PDA. Rather, I’m encouraging you to remember the “K.I.S.S.” principle with your guests.
You know the K.I.S.S. principle, the mantra that generations of pastors have been taught: Keep It Simple, Stupid. (Although I feel really bad to call you stupid.) For our guests, our K.I.S.S. matters a great deal. We overcomplicate things, give too many steps, and paint too broad a picture.
Guests need simple, not because they’re dumb, but because too much too soon is overwhelming. They can’t process it all. Complexity leads to anxiety, but simplicity can lead to connection. The goal of guest services is to clear the path so that people see Jesus.
So how do you Keep It Simple, Stup…um…Sir / Sister? Here are a few practical ways:
Signage. Is the right signage in the right places? Are major destinations (auditorium, kids’ space, restrooms, etc.) covered? Are venue names clear? A few years ago I spotted one of our signs that just said “MSSG.” I’ll bet you that most of our staff – let alone our guests – wouldn’t have known that stood for “Middle School Small Groups.” Oops.
Welcome center. Do your first time guests know what they need (and want) to know? Are you giving them all 912 points of your doctrinal statement, or are you making them comfortable? Most of what we put in our first time guests bags is too much. Simplify that junk.
Info kiosk. Grab a trash can. Go to your info table. Dump 50% of the paperwork that’s there. Now dump 90% of what’s left. Too many fliers create confusion. If everything is important, nothing is. Instead, listen to your guests. Ask questions. And make suggestions on what might help them. Have a flier in the drawer that you can hand to them, but don’t dare them to pick up everything at once.
Sermon. Teaching pastors, are you giving one point or many? As our pastor is fond of saying, “That was four really good sermons. Which one are you going to preach?” Andy Stanley’s Communicating for a Change is incredibly helpful in this arena.
Stage announcements. Ever endured a sermon-after-the-sermon? Keep your announcements to one or two things and watch the confusion melt away. Align what you’re announcing from the stage, the screen, and worship guide for even more clarity. Kem Meyer’s Less Clutter, Less Noise spells that out.
Next steps. What is the very next thing a guest needs? Friendship? Community? A way to serve? A practical need met? Again, this involves listening. But once you’ve listened, be able to define exactly what it is that will help them.
What are other areas where we could do a better job at keeping it simple?