Another One In The Books…

Well father’s day is over and another Sunday is in the books.

If you’re like me, especially if you’re in the 1st impressions business, you are probably replaying the day in your mind and wondering what you and you’re team could have done better.

I think our 1st Impressions team at Cross Point did an amazing job this past Sunday!!! But just like every weekend there is always room for improvement.

I’m currently reading the book Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World by Michael Haytt.  In the second chapter of the book he talks about a meeting he had with his executive staff in regards to a trip he and his family had recently taken.  This trip was filled with numerous wow moments and in this meeting with his staff he asked them to recall some of the most powerful wow moments they had ever experienced in their lives.  Then he asked each of his staff members to share about them.  Finally he asked his staff to identify the common attributes in each of those experiences.

From those responses he concluded that each of those experiences had a combination of ten similar elements and over the next few days I am going to look at each of those elements.

Today I am going to walk through the first three.  As you read through this list over the next few days I want you to think about your church in regards to 1st impressions and I want you to ask yourself the question, “Does a person’s first time visit to my church contain any of these elements?”  If so, what are they and if not, where and how are you going to make the necessary changes to make them a part of a person’s first time experience at your church.

So here are the first three:

Surprise.  A wow experience always exceeds our expectations.

  • Is there a wow factor when people walk in your lobby?
  • Do people walk out after their first visit to your church and say, “Wow, that was different and I’ll be back!”
    • If not, why?
    • If so, share with us why.  I would love to hear what you’re doing to create wow experiences at your church.

Anticipation.  Anticipating a wow experience is almost as good as the experience.

  • Does your churches reputation proceed itself?
    • This can be both a good and a bad thing, know the difference in regards to your church.
  • Are people excited to be at your church?
  • Are people excited about coming back to your church?

Resonance.  A wow experience touches the heart.

  • Plain and simple, do you welcome your guest with a heart felt welcome?
  • Are the people on your team genuine and sincere?

This is a lot to think about!!!

But I hope I’ve challenged you to look at what you’re doing 1st Impressions wise through a new lens.  I also hope this opens up some new conversations and maybe cause some training to happen for you and your teams.

I know it has for me!!!

Let’s talk, leave your comments:

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Lessons In Hospitality From Waffle House…

Southern Hospitality: Showing graciousness, kindness, and warmth to others. Behavior that is selfless, compassionate, and kind.

My family and I just moved to Nashville about a month ago from Southern California, Riverside, CA to be exact.

Both my wife and I were born and raised in Southern California.  So moving to the South has been somewhat of a culture shock for us.

People are genuinely nice out here.  Southern hospitality is an actual thing and it’s tangible at that.

For example; my family and I went to the Waffle House for breakfast this morning and I will say we experienced southern hospitality at it’s finest.

Our waitress greeted us with a hearty, “Good mornin’ y’all, what can I get you this morning?”

Throughout our visit she made sure to ask us regularly if we needed anything, had lot’s of interaction with our boy’s, and made sure when we left to say, “Thank you” and that she look forward to seeing us again.

While I know all this is a part of her job the thing is, she did it with a sincere attitude not a forced, I have to be here and this is what they want me to do, type attitude.  Which is sadly the type of attitude we are used to experiencing in our home state.

The one thing that kept running through my mind is this idea of follow through though.

Our waitress followed through with her hospitality from the minute we walked through that door until the minute we walked out.

Man what a great concept and practice for us in the church to put into play; follow through.  Especially when it comes to 1st impressions.

Imagine a 1st time visitor walking into Cross Point and having the same type of hospitable experience like my family and I did this morning.  Then in return they go and tell all their friends about it, just like I’m doing right now.

Word of mouth is some of the best advertisement you can get!

I love this verse in the book of Hebrews and I think it should be one of the driving forces behind our approach to 1st Impressions:

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

Big Leagued…

Big Leagued; verb: The act of considering someone or something so trivial or insignificant that one refuses to acknowledge its presence or existence; the state of being ‘better than.’

Have you ever been big leagued?

I’m going to be honest here and say that this is one of my biggest pet peeves, being big leagued!  Especially when I see it happen in the church, let alone when it happens to me personally.

I understand that we are busy people, with busy schedules, and sometimes we may big league someone unintentionally.  But man it really frustrates me when I see someone do it intentionally.

Scripture even has something to say about the topic of big leaguing.  Check out what it says in the first couple of verses of chapter two in the book of James:

“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?”

“For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.  If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?”  James 2:1-4 (NLT)

You want to make sure people don’t come back to your church after their first visit, big league them!!!

Bad attitudes, egos, and arrogance are all the characteristics of a good big leaguer and these are all the exact opposite characteristics of a good 1st impression.

If you drop down a couple of verses in chapter two James gives us some solid advice when it comes to 1st impressions.  He writes:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” James 2:8 (NLT)

If you wouldn’t big league yourself, why do it to others?

So like I said in my last blog:

“Put a smile on your face, shake a hand, and help someone feel welcome and wanted.  Help them feel like they belong at Cross Point.

Welcome them home!

The Unsaid…

Have you ever been in a situation where someone’s body language was putting off a message so strong that you couldn’t avoid seeing it?

One place that comes to mind for me is the DMV.  It’s like most of the employees body language there is saying, “I don’t want to be here and now you just inconvenienced me some more, so go away!!!”

Or have you been somewhere and felt as if by someone not saying anything to you they said more than enough?  It was if they said, “I really don’t care that you’re here and I am not going to acknowledge your presence either.”  But they never verbally conveyed this message to you.

Our body language and the things we don’t say can sometimes cause more damage than words themselves.  Especially when it comes to 1st impressions!

When a fist time visitor walks into Cross Point their sensors are already on high.  They are a fresh set of eyes and are watching and evaluating everything they see to make sure this is a safe place for them.

If we as the 1st Impression team unintentionally put off bad body language or fail to acknowledge a person, these unsaid things can cause someone to feel unwanted and unwelcome.

We as people have a sense of wanting to belong and we spend countless hours searching for a place to belong and when we find it, it’s like home and there’s nothing like being at home.

So put a smile on that face and shake a hand and help someone feel welcome and wanted.  Help them feel like they belong at Cross Point.

Welcome them home!

Know Why You’re Here…part II

“…Love the LORD your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 11:13

 I ended my blog yesterday with this statement:

  • Do what you do, if that’s what you do… but know why you do it!

 The point I’m trying to get across is these two blogs is; know why you are serving.

If you’re serving either out of obligation or pressure that’s only going to lead to burn out and eventually a good resentment towards the church.

Or

If you’re serving because you feel it’s your “Christian” duty, well that’s just another item on your to do list and let’s face it, serving at church will probably start to slide to the bottom of that list anyways.

But have you ever thought of serving as an act of worship, have you ever connected serving to worshiping?

Think about it:

  • Serving is an act of worship

When I finally fully grasped this concept it was a game changer for me.

I stopped serving just to serve and I started serving as an act of worship.  I was no longer just serving God, I was worshiping Him as I was serving Him.

I’m going to get a little cheesy here but I want to prove a point.  In Matt Redman’s song Heart of Worship in the chorus it says, “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it” in regards to worship but I think we’ve done the same thing in regards to service.

Why?

Because we have disconnected the two, serving from worshiping.

We’ve taken worshiping God out of serving God and in return we’ve made serving God just another thing on our to do list and overtime it has fallen to the bottom of that list.

Serving God is not something to be done out of pressure or obligation.

No, it’s to be done because serving God is an act of worshiping God.

So let’s return to the heart of worship (cheesy, I know) and realize that our serving God is not about just about serving Him, it’s more than that, it’s all about worshiping Him and that’s why we do what we do!

And now you know why you do it!!!

Know Why You’re Here… part I

“When someone brings their passion to work, and it’s aligned with the work of the organization, success is the natural outcome.”

Why do you do what you do?

What is your passion in life?

Do you love what you do?

I have the pleasure to serve God along side a group of amazing volunteers every Sunday at Cross Point.  But I often wonder if people are serving because they feel pressured to, or they feel like they “have to”, or maybe they feel like it’s what a “true Christian” does.

Think about it:

Are  you serving because it’s your passion?

Or

Are you serving because you feel pressured to, or maybe obligated to?

Maybe you’re trying to get something out of it selfishly…(I’ve been here before).

These are all, I feel, valid things to question especially if you are at, or nearing burnout.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “Why am I serving?”

Maybe you’ve been serving in the same position, for the same ministry, for several years, but you’ve lost sight of why you started serving in the first place.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • What am I serving for?
  • What is my passion?

The fact is, when we know the answers to these questions we will begin and continue to have a sense of purpose that can carry us forward and we can do what needs to be done.  The things we feel we’ve been gifted and called to do.

Because we as people want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, we want to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in what we do.

So let me challenge you to do what you do if that’s what you do…but know why you do it!

“Love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul…”  Deuteronomy 11:13

Listen Empty…

A part of our mission as the first impressions team here at Cross Point is to help people feel welcomed.  I think for me one of the best ways for me to feel welcomed is to know that someone is actually listening to me when I am talking to them.

Crazy concept, right?

Think about it though…

How many times have you been talking to someone, especially someone who is supposed to be helping you, and you’ve thought to yourself, “Is this person even listening to me?”

I know I’ve been in situations like that before and I’ve asked myself that question a few times.

How flipping frustrating is that, ugh!!!

The fastest way to get me to not want to come back to some place is to make me feel unwelcomed and even worse, not listened to when I need help.

I love this video from Chic-Fil-A check it out: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v0RhvZ3lvY)!!!

Talk about feeling welcomed!!!

Knowing that someone will take the time to stop and listen to you.

All of their new employees have to watch this video, probably one of the reasons why when it comes to 1st impressions Chic-Fil-A is one of the best!!!

I love this verse in Romans because I think it’s a reminder for us to stop and listen to others and help them feel welcomed:

“So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!”  Romans 15:7 (The Message)

So stop and listen to someone today because everyone has a story and you might just miss it of you don’t!!!