I just finished re-reading Nelson Searcy’s Fusion. It’s one of the top five books I recommend to anyone who is trying to refine the ministry of guest services / assimilation / first impressions / general all-around niceness at their church.
One quote in particular grabbed me:
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…there is another usher who points you toward the correct aisle, where there is yet another usher who walks you directly to your row and motions to your seats. In that first Broadway experience, we knew that as long as we had our ticket in hand for the ushers to see, they would do all the work. We were along for the ride. That’s usher service. [emphasis mine]
Can your guest services team compare to that? Do you do the heavy lifting for your guest before they ever arrive? Do you think through the bottlenecks, the points of confusion, the moments of anxiety, the transitions from one environment to another? Do you have a plan for getting a first timer from the street to the seat and back to the street?
Yes, we want to make outsiders insiders and turn people loose to be a fully-functioning member of the body. But until that time, how easy do you make it for your guests?
Can you really say they’re along for the ride?
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