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.

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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.

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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
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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