A Lasting First Impression

Hey everybody,

If you have been following the Made for Monday’s Podcast recently, you will know that Bonnie and I have been working to prepare our little apartment (mother-in-law suite) for the short-term rental market. We started the work at the end of March and just this week finished up the final details to put it out there. The amount of work that it has taken has been surprising. We had to get everything right with the space, of course. We have painted and cleaned. We’ve purchased furniture and supplies like towels, washcloths, and a coffee pot. We even did some pressure washing and landscaping around the entrance to the apartment. All of that work to make a good impression on the guests staying there. All of the work was necessary because we know that if a guest has a great experience, they will give us a great review which will encourage others to book the space.

In addition to all of that work, we had to prepare communications that would give the potential guests all the information that they would need to have a great experience as well. Where should they park? What supplies will be provided? How they can access Wi-Fi and dozens of other details. It has been quite an adventure preparing for potential guests. It takes time to think through the guests’ possible experiences with us and anticipate everything they want or need to know to enhance their stay with us.

You may wonder why I’m boring you with the details of our little enterprise. I wanted to get you in the frame of mind of thinking about an experience from a guest’s perspective. Each week at Believers, some people are there for the first time. They are OUR guests! And unlike our little apartment, where a good experience could lead to more bookings, a good experience at Believers may connect them with a life-giving community and a life-changing Savior and a change of eternity! There literally couldn’t be MORE at stake each Sunday for our guests.

In our staff circle-up this week, I listened as stories were told about people that we have been praying for. Someone came for the first time this past Sunday, and for them, the win was that their experience “wasn’t weird.” The person had never been to church before, and they were VERY nervous about what might happen. They were very pleasantly surprised to find that nothing weird happened. I’m not sure I’d call that a ringing endorsement, but I’ll take it. We heard of someone else who came for the first time back in January, and as they arrived this week, they were hugged by group leaders, high-fived by impact TEAM members, and the person was blown away by a community that had embraced him so quickly. Their faith is rapidly growing today, partly because of their guest experience here just a few months ago.

I’ve been challenged through this experience of preparing for guests in our apartment to be just as intentional about the guests that may be coming to Believers for the first time this Sunday. And while I have a fair amount of control over what guests at our apartment will experience, I have far LESS control over what guests will experience at Believers. The truth is, each of you reading this (and all of those who SHOULD be reading this) will have as much to do with a guest experience at Believers as I do. So, here are a few tips for YOU to make sure that you are part of a GREAT guest experience at Believers this week:

  1. Say hello, and maybe introduce yourself to someone you don’t know this week. There is tremendous power in a greeting.
  2. Create a warm environment where YOU are. You might not be able to control everything in the church environment, but you have control over yourself, and YOU ARE part of the church environment. If you are in the auditorium, engage in worship. Use the app and take notes. Laugh when I tell a joke (I’m just kidding, if you don’t think it’s funny, you don’t have to laugh). The point I’m trying to make is that YOU and how you relate to what is happening around you will set a tone that guests will notice. If you are warm, friendly, and engaged, chances are, they will be too.
  3. If you see an opportunity to help someone, do it! Whether that is while you are in the parking lot and you see a mom struggling with getting a kid out of the car or in the Commons, and someone has that “lost” look on their face…step into those situations. Offer help or direction.

Imagine that this Sunday, Believers was YOUR enterprise, and someone’s experience here fell on your shoulders. Let’s do all that we can to be as welcoming as we can to as many as we can. What you do matters greatly and could be a difference-maker for a guest this week!

Many Blessings,

Pastor Jamey