Thursday, October 7, 2010

Removing the Stigma of the "V" Word

How many times have you gone somewhere, anywhere, and you go the the desk and there it is:

How does that make you feel?

Let's take another trip - to a hotel, or a restaurant, or to a friend's home. The odds are that you are welcomed as a guest.

How does that make you feel?

When it comes to ChurchWorld, more often than not we have visitors, not guests. It may be a little thing to you, just a word, but I think it's actually a powerful first impression that needs to change.

This week I have been on the grounds of over two dozen churches in a southern city, noted for its charm and hospitality. All different sizes, all different denominations (or none), all different socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • First impression: A little over half had special parking - for visitors.
  • Second impression: Only about a third had a designated place inside the building - for visitor information.
  • Third impression: Over 90% of the staff I talked with were happy to tell me about their process: for welcoming visitors.
Not so good, in my book.

Let's just make it official: as of today, the word "visitor" is officially banned from your church's vocabulary.

Guests come to your place, looking for a warm greeting, a smiling face, and an experience designed to make them feel like, well, guests. Nothing phony, manipulative, or in-your-face; just welcome them as guests with the most sincere, energizing, and loving experiences you can.

How about it? Is it a deal?

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