Published: 10 years ago

FI Fridays: Wow Moments

Beginning today and continuing through every Friday this fall, I’m doing a series titled “First Impressions Fridays.”  These posts are specifically designed for the First Impressions Teams at all of our campuses, but hey, read it anyway.  You might learn something useful.

The concept of “Wow Moments” comes from my friend Mark Waltz (I think I’m allowed to call him my friend by now…I’ve bought a ton of his books).  In his first book, First Impressions, he states that if a first-time guest to your church doesn’t say, “Wow!  I’m impressed!” sometime in their first ten minutes, then your guest services team has failed and should all be fired.

Okay, he doesn’t put it that strongly, but the point is the same: every Sunday morning, we should have systems in place that grab our guests’ attention and makes them want to come back.  A few examples should suffice, all of which I heard first-hand just yesterday:

  • One of our members was telling me about a guy she’s been trying to invite to the Summit for a while.  She casually mentioned that we have a coffee bar, to which he replied, “What brand of coffee?”  When she said Dunkin’ Donuts, he said, “Hmmm…I might have to come check that out.”  Translated: You didn’t cheap out with the Folgers Crystals.  Maybe you really do care whether or not I show up.
  • Another guy told me about his father in law who was visiting from out of town last Sunday.  He was flattered that we’d invest in Summit-branded coffee mugs as a “thank you” for visiting with us.  Word on the street was that he was also snapping pictures of the First Time Guest tent to try to implement back at his home church.  Translated: This church really does care that I took the time to visit.  They expected me to show up, and were ready for me.
  • In that same conversation, this guy told me that the first time he and his wife visited, they were allowed to take coffee into the worship center.  Translated: You care more about your guests’ comfort than the potential of coffee stains on the chairs.

It’s small touches like these that make guests say “Wow!  I’m impressed!”  Now, I should note that we’re not trying to buy guests’ affection or bribe them to return or anything like that.  But those little touches lower defenses, and lowered defenses yields a clearer hearing of the gospel, and a clearer hearing of the gospel yields changed lives.  That’s what we’re going for, and that’s why we’ll continue to try to “wow” people during their first few minutes on campus.

What are some “Wow!” moments that you’ve had at other churches?

  1. B the Builder says:

    “Wow! Check out the size of that pipe organ!”
    Its in the War Memorial Chapel at Bob Jones University – go figure.

  2. Blake says:


    While I was a work one night I was mulling over your blog. I know scary. Here was my thought. By trying to create a “wow” moment for everyone are we buying into our culture of consumerism. America is all about how much can we consume. People will come to our church because they get coffee but wouldn’t because another church didn’t offer that to them? Are we helping people be just consumers? Now I know that once they are in the door that is not the message that is preached. The gospel is preached and that changes lives. I know that you have to get them there but I am afraid that sometimes that is all they will get. Anyways just some thoughts from a seminary guy, I am looking forward to your response.

  3. Mark Waltz says:

    Blake – Great question. I’m looking forward to Danny’s response too.


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