One of the best parts of my #tourdechurches trip was that I got a slew of resources from other churches, learned how they do guest services, guest relations, hospitality, and of course manage and train their volunteers!
At least once, if not two or three times throughout the month I get contacted by another church looking for resources, trainings, and simply wanting to talk and learn from each other. My favorite part is that they are all sizes, shapes, and colors. Everyone is looking to collaborate and learn, it is a beautiful picture of how God will grow and move His church. I love that my job allows me the chance to get to network with these other churches, to learn from them, and share what I have learned.
One of the biggest things I have realized as I learn more about what I do: there is a severe lack of information about First Impressions for churches. – Even if you expand your search to guest services, guest relations, hospitality etc.. there is very little (compared to pastoring, leadership, discipleship, worship, prayer, and kids/youth ministries etc..) that can serve as a resource or training. Most of what you find are basic “tips” buzzfeed style. So, because of the lack of information, I have begun to compile information to share with you.. The best part, most of it is FREE! Boom. Winning.
Lots of churches have created their own materials and resources, but there’s little out there for assistance to learn and grow from other churches like other ministry areas.
My goal is to create a place and begin networking to find information, to learn, and share. Some of this will be excellent and others mediocre.. The helpfulness of the resources will depend on your needs and church culture most likely.
I am hugely passionate about First Impressions and the Church; it matters to me a lot. I love when I get to train my own leaders and volunteers, or when I get to spend time with other churches doing the same thing. #Sameteam
I want to become a resource for people trying to learn how to reach others from different cultures, beliefs, backgrounds better. Understanding where they are coming from so you know how to engage with them, make them feel loved and cared for is hugely important. Paul was so great at this!
When I went on my Tour de Churches (You can read a bit about it here), I learned some cool things that you should know!
Church of the Highlands in Birmingham Alabama has a Grow Network, and IT IS FREE. You can sign up and they will help you grow your church! They have thousands of resources… all free!
Also, while I am at it, here are a few articles I have found on Hospitality and First Impressions for the Church. (Most of which are a couple of years old at this point):
Should Your Church Stop Having a Stand and Greet Time? – By Thom Rainer
Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests – By: Thom Rainer
Christian Hospitality is Key to Being and Inviting Church – Huffington Post
Inviting Someone to Church Without Being Awkward – Existence Church
Many of the resources I have found, like these below, are more just basics…
Sort of like a “First Impressions or Hospitality 101” for Churches:
Implementing Hospitality – Churchleadership.org
First Impressions: Ten Ways to Make Guests Feel Welcome
Then, there are some very helpful “outsider” perspectives that I think everyone should read, consider, and share with other church attenders to help everyone understand:
10 Common First Impressions Mistakes that Churches Make
Also, because I think it is helpful Google Church First Impressions and learn more… Read it all! – No, seriously, read as much as you can from as many different perspectives as possible.
Become a student of what it feels like to be an outsider to the church; because the longer you have been an ‘insider’ the harder it is to remember what it was like to be an outsider.
What does Scripture say about First Impressions?
Read more about the topic here, here, and here! – Also, keep coming back because I will be blogging more about the scriptural basis for First Impressions in the upcoming weeks and months. Coming soon are some stories that help to put all of this into perspective as to why First Impressions at Churches matters so much to me.
More resources and blog posts to come.