Guest Experience #1 – Define the Problem

We have a problem . . .

OK. Here we go. I’m going to walk through the Strategic Process by exploring the “guest experience” in a hypothetical church scenario. Please notice two things:

  1. The Strategic Process.  {1.Define the Challenge, 2.Clarify ‘What Is?’, 3.Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’, 4.Face ‘What’s in the Way?’, 5.Determine ‘What’s the Path?’}
  2. The ideas that I begin to clarify about the guest experience.  {How might you take advantage of the hypothetical strategic steps I walk you through over these next five blog entries?)

Define the Challenge
The first step in the Strategic Process is to define the challenge. In this step we want to draft a clear statement that clarifies what’s wrong. There is no point in engaging in future planning if we don’t have something that isn’t working, or that couldn’t work better.

Utilizing the principles in the book, Being Strategic, we will define the challenge by asking:

  • What isn’t working?
  • How can we (I) . . . ?  {finish the sentence}
  • Would this {the previous sentence} feel like success.

The Guest Experience Challenge
All right, here’s my first stab of how we would define the challenge as it relates to the guest experience on a Sunday morning in many of our churches today. Let me know what you think.

“It doesn’t seem like many of our guests return to our church after their first visit. How can we ensure that a considerably larger percentage of our first time guests will actually want to visit us again? If we can accomplish that, then it would feel like success to us.”

Notice that the first sentence describes what isn’t working. The second sentence finishes the sentence, “How can we . . .?” and the final sentence clarifies that we have adequately defined the problem.

I welcome your feedback.

Go to “Guest Experience #2: Clarify ‘What Is?’

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Erika Andersen November 15, 2010  

    Wayne –

    I can’t tell you how wonderful it is when I stumble across someone using our process to address issues that are important to him or her.

    And it’s even more thrilling when someone understands the process so clearly: I LOVE your challenge question, and am looking forward to seeing where you go with this…


  • Wayne Hedlund November 15, 2010  


    I am honored and greatly encouraged by your comment. The principles in your book “Being Strategic” have greatly impacted how our staff and the pastors/leaders with whom I have influence process and think.

    I welcome any clarification or even correction you might have as I continue to expound on how the strategic process might be applied to church life.


  • C Car December 2, 2010  

    Thanks Wayne for documenting this exercise. It’s an effective illustration of Erika’s process. I’m going to use it today!