First impressions matter. Oftentimes in the programming and planning of church services, we can quickly neglect an important aspect of our worship gatherings: how we welcome first-time visitors.
As I travel around and visit churches, one thing I love to do is play the part of a ‘secret shopper’ and experience how a first-time guest is welcomed at a church. I thought I had seen and heard all of the tricks and styles of welcoming visitors to churches, but my recent visit to Elevation Church in Charlotte changed my perception. They literally treat their first-time visitors like VIPs.
Here’s how it went down:
Rock Star Parking.
When we pulled up to the campus, there was a sign for first-time visitors to turn on their hazard lights to let the parking lot volunteers direct you to the VIP Parking reserved for guests. We did and were given a parking spot literally steps from the front door of the church.
A VIP Welcome.
As we were parking, a volunteer came to our car and welcomed us. She was incredibly friendly and genuinely acted excited that we were there. She explained to us that at Elevation Church, every guest is treated like a VIP. She then handed us a VIP brochure that included a short note from Pastor Steven Furtick, notes for where to go for your first-time visit, info for families with children, and ways to connect at the church. There was also an audio CD attached to the brochure that had a few songs written by the Elevation worship team and a message from Pastor Steven. All this in the first 45 seconds of being on their property.