Core Concept: Connection

As you will recall in an earlier post I hung the hat of “Connection” on what keeps them coming back. If you are a pastor or church leader, please don’t take offense, but most people don’t come or keep coming for your sermon/message. Nor do they always come back because of the worship music or style. I would suggest that music and style play a more significant role than who is teaching or what is being taught especially for a non-believer who is new to the whole church experience. My suggestion, not fact, nor supported by industry research standards. Just my opinion.

People come and keep coming for the relationships that are built while they are on your campus. There is a connection, good or bad, it is there.In Joseph Michelli’s book, “The Starbuck Experience” he interviews Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks where Mr. Schultz clearly says, “we don’t sell coffee, we sell relationships”. Now that is something we can learn from in the Christian community. If anyone should be in the relationship business it should be the church. It burdens me that we didn’t think of this first. Why is it that Starbucks has become the, “third place” in American culture. For that matter, when adding 5 new Starbucks a day world wide they are a phenomenon.

What are the things we the church can learn in this area of 1st impressions that will help people experience belonging even when they don’t know what it is. I submit there are a couple of areas that will greatly impact a person’s first impression once they arrive on your campus.

Let me give you the thirty thousand foot view and then I’ll unpack each area later.

Three areas, “touch points“, “target audience“, and “take aways“.

Touch Points:
Can you name every touch point between the time someone enters your campus until they leave? Here are a few to get you started. I’m sure you’ll think of more.

  • Signage and Kiosks – how do they know where they are and that where they are is where they want to really be.
  • Traffic personnel – that’s right, having a volunteer assisting persons with entrance, access, and egress. These persons need to come with a “coke and a smile” if you know what I mean. They are on the very front line of the experience.
  • Greeters – persons in the parking lots as well as long walkways up to your buildings, in the halls of your build right up to the worship center doors.
  • Ushers – these come easy for most churches. I’ve found very few churches that do not have someone inside the worship center assisting persons to find a seat. Just make sure it’s not the “wrong” seat. You know what I mean. Would hate to run into one of those, “You got my seat” folks. Ushers are also, “the dudes that take my money,” but seriously you need the right people ushering.
  • Health care Personnel – you heard me. Who takes care of those in need of first aid assistance while on your campus. Don’t rely on outside sources. Be prepared.
  • Information Center Personnel – this persons have a great responsibility as they speak on behalf of the church and their communication can make or break a guests experience.
  • Campus Cleaning – what your campus, buildings, and restrooms look like are a huge touch point. Cleanliness and up to date amenities required.
  • Bulletins – the communication piece that you put in someones hands when they enter a worship experience speaks volumes to the person receiving the piece. It speaks to what is important to your church that week as well as what they are going to do in this room they just walked into (worships center) that looks nothing like what they have ever been in before.
  • Response Cards – what you ask or don’t ask a person with the dreaded, “response card” is very important. This is a great tool, but can easily turn a seeker off if not used with extreme caution.

Target Audience:

I was raised in the south where our idea of target audience was all 6700 people who called our town home. I never could understand why they didn’t show up. The reason for that was we didn’t really know who our audience was.

What does your campus communicate to community. Does it communicate 20 years old and single, 35 married with kids, or a 65 year old retirement center.

Although not a popular discussion for most churches, understanding your audience does matter when it comes to helping someone connect with you and your church.

Take Aways:

What do you want them to remember? and What is important?

These two questions are crucial for connection. I would encourage you to take a look at your church and determine how you might answer these two questions. Once answered, I guarantee you will take another look at your Touch Points, and Target Audience.

© Kerry R. Mackey, All Rights Reserved

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