GUESTS & How to Lose a First Time Guest in 10 Minutes or Less. #CareyNieuwhof

 , Nov. 2018.

,,, Recently, on Episode 132 of my Leadership Podcast, I had a far-ranging conversation on a guest’s first ten minutes at a church with Greg Atkinson, author of Secrets of a Secret Church Shopper. You can listen in the player below, or better-yet, subscribe to my pocdast for free on

What’s surprising to me about the factors Greg outlines is that they’re actually simple hospitality, people and facility-related things.

Conclusion? Often the barrier to Christ isn’t spiritual—it’s us.

1. HAVE A BAD ONLINE PRESENCE

… When was the last time you thought about your website from the perspective of a first time guest? Same for your social media accounts or pages.

Most people will check out a church online long before they check out a church in real life. It doesn’t matter whether you live-stream your services or not, a simple website with basic information for a first-time guest is helpful. (Here’s an example from our site at Connexus Church.)

2. MAKE PARKING FRUSTRATING

,,, Want a clear, short expression of a great guest services vision? Check out Gwinnett Church’s Guest Services video.  The team at Gwinnett Church even takes pre-schoolers into the building on wagon rides. 4 year olds love it. 🙂 I’ll bet parents do too.

3. UNDER-GREET GUESTS

Many churches say they’re friendly. But what they mean is they’re friendly to each other.

… First-time guests need an appropriate welcome, clear directions to what’s next and the sense that there are people there who knew they were coming and are able to help them.

4. OVER-GREET GUESTS

… One rule that’s helped us at our church is simply this: greet people the way they want to be greeted.

Recruit emotionally intelligent guest services people who can sense if someone is an introvert and merely wants a ‘welcome’ or if a guest is an extrovert looking for a warm embrace and a conversation.

5. MAKE KIDS CHECK-IN COMPLICATED

… Two quick hacks can help this. Spend a bit of money on good technology. Get some updated tablets or computers that actually work (kids ministry usually suffer from hand-me-down syndrome) and give them meaningful wifi bandwidth so they run quickly.

Then, overstaff your check-in area. Have check-in people meet parents while they’re waiting in line and take their information so when they get to the front of the line they just need to get tags for their kids and go.

6. KEEP YOUR FACILITY TIRED AND DIRTY

The problem with your church is the same problem you have with your house: you become blind to the imperfections and problems.

7. CONFUSE THEM

… You may have clever theming for your kids environments or student environments, but make sure your signage is still clear for first-time guests. So while we call our pre-school Waumba Land, the sign in the main foyer says “Ages birth – five.” It’s just simpler that way.

Similarly, with the main auditorium or sanctuary, restrooms and other areas guests need to access. Just be clear.

… The interview with Greg Atkinson gives many more insights. I hope you check it out!

Read more at … https://careynieuwhof.com/how-to-a-lose-first-time-guest-in-10-minutes-or-less/

 

GLOBAL POPULATION & Two #InfoGraphics that visualize the world’s population

by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalization, 4/2/19.

Visualizing the world’s population

Today’s data visualization comes to us from PopulationPyramid.net, a fantastic resource for data on global population numbers.

It allows us to see the location of the world’s 7.5 billion people by resizing countries based on their populations and then coloring and organizing them by region.

This simple application of data visualization makes it more intuitive to comprehend where people live around the globe, as well as how different countries compare in size.

A final look at global population

This isn’t the first time we’ve shown you a data visualization that organizes the global population – here’s one we previously published that shows each country in a bubble chart:

While this uses slightly older data, it is still interesting to see how data visualization can help us understand a complex and wide-ranging set of data that is relevant to everyday life.

GENERATIONS & Mr Potato Head gets fired, replaced by his millennial counterpart Mr Avo Head per #Hasbro (#AprilFools ;-) #SeeThePicture

by Rachael Thompson, Mashable, 4/1/19, April Fools Day.

Mr Avo Head, suitable for all millennials.
Mr Avo Head, suitable for all millennials.
IMAGE: HASBRO

On April 1, 2019, also known as April Fools’ Day, Hasbro announced the termination of our spud-like pal’s contract to make way for his millennial replacement, Mr Avo Head. 

“It’s no guaccident that the avocado was chosen to replace the carby potato,” reads Hasbro’s statement. “Hasbro has announced that Mr Potato Head will no longer be a star carb character and will be replaced with his soon to be Insta-famous rival, Mr Avo Head.”

Read more at … https://mashable.com/article/mr-potato-head-avo-head/#ZDkWb9MIbZqQ

GENERATIONS & A chart comparing Generations X, Y & Z by Dr. Jan Paron for #GCRN18 #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork

by Dr. Jan Paron, 10/18/18, Great Commission Research Network annual conference, Orlando, FL, graduate of the Missional Coach program..

(bio from web) Her work reflects experience in urban ministry and leadership, diversity, strategic planning, grant writing, children and adult literacy, teaching children of poverty, differentiating instruction, and curriculum development. Currently, she is a dean and professor with the All Nations Leadership Institute. She was one of the Institute’s founding members.

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GUESTS & Ideas for churches based upon the #Disney “5 Principles of Hospitality” explained by former #Disney executive to #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork #GCRN18

IMG_0976

 

by Rich Taylor, former head of Disney Entertainment speaking to the Great Commission Research Network, Oct. 18, 2018 (commentary in italics by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D.)

Disney has 5-rules of hospitality.

 

 

  1. Anticipate – Look ahead to anticipate what will your guests need.
    • Walk the venue beforehand.
    • What will be the guests’ needs: childcare, restrooms, open seating?
  2. Arrival – What they experience on arrival.
    • What is the experience in the first five minutes?
  3. Great Experience – the Disney Experience.
    • What is the cumulative experience of the guest.
    • What will they feel after the first 15 minutes?  
    • What will they focus upon?
    • What will they remember?
    • Technology:
      • Don’t over-rely on technology. Be prepared for technology to fail and to have a Plan B.
      • Don’t rely on the latest technology, because the latests technology still has the bugs being worked out.  Adopt proven technology.  This would mean we should be “advanced incumbents” rather than “early adopters.” See this chart for a comparison.  
    • Selection:  Use people that are “naturally friendly” in Taylor’s terminology, which we might define as those with the “gift of hospitality.”
    • Training is another key.  Give them regular training at regular times for which they can plan.
  4. Departure – This is your last opportunity to make a guest feel great. When I went to theatre the other night, everyone welcomed us and said goodbye.  It was well done. But the valets were disinterested and unconcerned. What did I remember from the evening? The valets!
    • Have a departing gift, acknowledgment,
    • Have a banner that says “Thank you for visiting – we hope you encountered God.” of something like that that can be seen as they leave.
  5. Savor – If it has been a good experience they will savor the visit and the most important thing for Disney is that they will come back.
    • Visit growing churches to see what they are doing that is working.  You can’t do everything but you may be able to replicate something they are doing.
    • Follow up with them, right after they leave.  Send visitors an email that arrives on their way home.
    • Get feedback.
      • If they are a repeat visitor, ask them what you did well (and they will tell you what they enjoyed).
      • Have anonymous “ideas cards” that guests can fill out.

GUESTS & The 4 biggest blind spots of churches according to #LifeWay #agree

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I have conducted mystery visitor, Sunday worship analysis at hundreds if not thousands of churches. This article by Aaron Wilson is based upon the research of the FaithPerceptions.com group, and an interview with their founder Melanie Smollen. Read the article to find great summation of what I found.

Basically I see there are repeatedly four “missteps” (Wilson class them “blind spots”) in churches,  regardless of size, culture or polity. Here is a summation of each with my personal analysis followed by a link to Aaron’s excellent summation.

BLIND SPOT #1: FRIENDLINESS IS ENOUGH

Most churchgoers feel they’re friendly to visitors, because they’re friendly to the people they already know. But as a mystery visitor most Sundays of the year, I found that churches overlook and under engage guests. That is, unless a church is intentional in reaching out to guests and utilizing those people with the gift of hospitality, see 1 Peter 4:9, Rom. 12:9-13, 16:23, Acts 16:14-15, Heb. 13:1-2). Also see the chapter on spiritual gifts in my book Spiritual Waypoints (an overview can be found here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/spiritual-gifts-list-how-to-help-others-discover-their-ministry-calling-spiritualwaypointsbook/).

Usually a church leader will have an anecdotal experience about some guest that has been reached. And, I’m sure these are valid experiences. But they are just that, anecdotal and usually outliers.  Therefore I agree with  analysis number one.

For more read Aaron’s article and interview with Melanie Smollen here … https://factsandtrends.net/2018/08/17/the-4-biggest-blind-spots-of-churches/

GIVING & How to move people from being donors … to being patrons. Recovering patronage as partnership.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: People often ask me why I have given so much of my energy, time and enthusiasm to Wesley Seminary over the years. The reason is brought out by the historical difference between being a “supporter” and a “patron.” Here’s an explanation of the difference from an interview by Fred Smith, president of The Gathering, an international association of foundations giving to Christian ministries with Roberta Green Ahmanson, a former newspaper religion reporter who writes on the relationships between art, religion and culture.

“From Donors to Patrons – A Conversation: Recovering patronage as partnership” by  Fred Smith and Roberta Green Ahmanson, The Comment Magazine, Cardus Communication (a faith-based think tank), 8/3/18.

… I called Roberta Green Ahmanson and we had a conversation about what it means to be considered a patron and what the role of the patron is—not just in the arts but in every discipline.

Fred Smith: Let’s jump right into it. What is a patron?

Roberta  Green Ahmanson: A patron is not only one giving financial support but who gives influential support, favour, encouragement to a person, institution, work, or art. From ancient times to the present, governments, institutions both secular and sacred, and individuals have been patrons of the arts. They have done it to deify themselves, to entrench social order, to maintain or increase status, to feel good, to benefit others, to foster the art they love … and sometimes even to glorify God.

A patron is not only one giving financial support but who gives influential support, favour, encouragement to a person, institution, work, or art.

FS: …It’s not a self-centered fascination with being considered a patron. It’s also more than investing in art for the return. There is something deeper in the relationship with the artist, I would assume.

RGA: Absolutely! … Patrons put their money and themselves out there and hope and work for the best. You are doing it for the love and joy of the work first, not for the return. A donor could be giving out of benevolence or mild interest, whereas a patron wants to participate and help guide the enterprise. A patron has almost a parental feel to it in terms of care, love, and truth-telling. A patron has more stake in the game. They don’t lose interest so easily.

A donor could be giving out of benevolence or mild interest, whereas a patron wants to participate and help guide the enterprise.

… I think that’s what we would both describe as an essential difference between donors and patrons. Patrons are in a unique relationship with both the art and the artist. It is not only supporting the art but, at times, being co-creators, critics, and in the original sense of the word, advocates. That is why not every artist wants a patron and would prefer having major donors…

Read more at … https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/from-donors-to-patrons-a-conversation/

 

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