The 11-Minute Difference: 7 Checkpoints to a Great Guest Experience at Your Church

When a first time guest drives onto your campus, they will decide within 11 minutes whether or not they are coming back.

Yes, the decision is made before your guests experience worship and the content of the sermon- the two elements that demand most, if not all, of our time and attention in preparation.

What would it look like if you extended the same level of intention to the 11 minutes prior to walking in the sanctuary or worship center? Maybe the better question is “What would it feel like for your guests?” 

It’s hard to overstate the wow factor a church body creates by serve generously through a system of hospitality. For the last 10 years I have observed and analyzed over 200 churches while conducting a “secret worshipper” experience.  It is a service at Auxano we call the “Guest Perspective Evaluation” and an essential part of our vision clarity consulting practice. One of my greatest thrills in ministry is tasting the variety of size, location, and spiritual heritage of these churches. But the most important observation is that any church can take small steps to make a dramatic difference in welcoming guests.

The first place to start is to imagine seven checkpoints for your guest. Think of the checkpoints as “gates” or even “hurdles” that any first time guest must navigate to get from their comfy family room to your worship service. With every gate comes a simple question: Has the church removed the inherent difficulty of navigating the gate for the first time, without insider knowledge of your church or church attendance in general?

More specifically I look for every opportunity to make each gate simple, easy and obvious to navigate.  Any particular difficulties created by your location or facility should be viewed as hospitality opportunities. By providing a great solution to an obvious barrier, you enhance the wow-factor of the hospitality.

THE SEVEN CHECKPOINTS

#1 Before Departure: Are directions and service times immediately accessible to guests from your church website, phone recording and yellow pages?

#2 Travel to Location: Do guests know where to turn into your church location from the street?

#3 Parking Lot: Do guests know where to park?

#4 Building Entrance: Do guests know which exterior door to enter?

#5 Children’s Ministry: Do guests know where to take their kids?

#6 Welcome Center: Do guest know where to go for more information?

#7 Worship: Do guests know which interior door to enter?

Want to have a conversation with your team around the concept of the Seven Checkpoints? Here’s a tool that will help you!


 

If you are interested in how vision clarity impacts every aspect of your church – especially your Guest Welcoming systems and processes, start a conversation with the team at Auxano, and see how break-thru clarity can help you realize vision.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Bruce — 08/31/15 9:09 am

Important ! Arrows to restrooms. Very important to some visitors.

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.