What’s the most important part of the weekend experience at church? Sermon. That’s the #1 thing mentioned by people. And that’s definitely on the top of the list. But have you ever heard a great message but still had a bad church experience and did not want to come back? The message is an important part, but there are so many other pieces that can turn off a guest. There’s the experience of the parking lot and interactions with volunteers and members. Do people know where to drop off their kids and do they feel safe? What a guest experiences outside the building is just as important as what they experience inside the building. Here are five reasons why it’s important that the church create a great weekend experience.
1) It’s about people’s spiritual and eternal destination
One of the biggest goals for a weekend experience is so that people will find Jesus and follow Jesus. Every handshake and smile from the parking lot to their seat opens up their hearts a little more. It opens up the hope that they will make Jesus their boss and best friend. There is no greater feeling than knowing that your role in creating a great weekend experience helped change a life forever.
2) We are in the hospitality business to serve people
The church should be the most welcoming, friendly and hospitable place on the planet. It’s a place of refuge for those that are hurting or having hang ups. Sometimes pain in our life opens our ears to hearing a message. When we serve them, we are showing them God’s visible love. Thus, the goal for the volunteers and leaders is to serve all people including strangers. You never know who you serve because it may be an angel (Hebrews 13:2). We find our purpose when we serve others and it allows others to have one more experience of God’s love.
3) A bad experience can hurt your church’s reputation
Research, on average, shows that people will share with 21 people about their bad experience. That’s just verbally to people that they know. A post on social media may have an even greater influence. It may not be fair and completely accurate, but it’s their experience and story. Their one bad experience can have a lasting impact on the community’s view of your church. What are people saying about your church?
4) Get it Right the first time
According to research, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for that one negative experience. From a logical standpoint, that’s a lot of work to change a person’s mindset and view. If the church gets the experience right the first time then you save all that time and energy. If you are intentional with creating a great experience and training your volunteers in the beginning then it’ll save you a lot of headache in the long run. The work in the beginning will only bring blessings and fruit for you and the guest.
5) A good experience can reach more people
People who experience something wonderful will tell 8 people about that place. If people enjoy the church experience, they will share it with 8 of their friends. That’s free advertising and publicity. Their friends and family may want to join them the following week too. A positive church experience has an exponential impact on the person and their contacts. The best way to grow your church is by creating a great experience for guests. The investment will pay off.
You only have one shot to make a first impression for a first time guest. It’s worth your time and resources to think through that experience and how you can improve on it.