Guest Experience #3 – Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’
This is part 3 in my series of posts walking you through the “Strategic Process” by exploring the guest experience in a hypothetical church scenario. The premise of the strategic process is based on the book, “Being Strategic” by Erika Andersen. You may read part one here and part two here to catch up.
Today we will Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’ This is my favorite part of the strategic process because we get to dream about the future. We are going to brainstorm the most perfect future we can think of for our particular church and situation. We’re going to pull together everything we know God has spoken to us about the future and pray for more wisdom and discernment. We are also going to include anything we have learned through workshops, books, personal experience, etc., that might play a role in what we believe the future should look like. When finished, you and your team should have a sense of excitement about the possibilities.
In this step, we will engage four key elements:
- Pick a time frame for success . . .
(When is a realistic goal that you believe you can reach one or more of your “hope” objectives?)
- Imagine yourself in that future . . .
(Mentally put yourself “there” so that you can accomplish the next objective below.)
- Describe what success looks and feels like . . .
(Very important. You give details as to what you see, hear, smell, touch, and feel about your environment. This should be written in the present tense, not the past or future tense.)
- Select the key elements . . .
(Sort out your brainstorming and future-casting into several categories or key elements.)
Note: Sometimes you will want to describe the future from several different perspectives. This will help clarify for you later all of the different elements that are really important to you.
Here we go:
In our hypothetical situation described in parts one and two we’ve already completed “Define the Problem?” and “Clarify ‘What Is?'”. Now let’s pull together some ideas of what the future might look like for our guests.
- WHAT WOULD I WANT A GUEST TO SAY DURING HIS OR HER VISIT? “I feel welcome at this church. The people are friendly and I believe they are glad I’m here. Everything is done with excellence. My whole family enjoys being here and feels cared for. They teach the Bible in a relevant way and I’m learning how to apply it in my everyday life. I am experiencing God here, and I know He’s transforming me. I feel I am part of something great, and I look forward to inviting my friends and family. I can’t wait to find out how I can get more involved.”
- WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE AS A GUEST ARRIVES? As guests drive up to our church they see a well groomed lawn and building on a paved parking lot. There is someone outside dressed as a parking attendant just greeting people and offering to help with the elderly or little children. As they enter the building they are greeted warmly by a married couple and are given clear directions to the childcare programs, with an offer to accompany and help them get acclimated to out kids’ rooms. There is upbeat, contemporary worship playing in the halls, plenty of light, and a smell of fresh brewed coffee. They will be given a Welcome Packet with information about our church and asked to fill out a very simple guest card before entering the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is well lit and offers comfortable seating. There are special lights and props on-stage supporting the sermon series. Once the couple enters our sanctuary they are handed a simple bulletin and easily find seats near the back where they won’t feel too uncomfortable. The worship is new to them, but they notice that people seem to genuinely love God and are obviously singing to Him. Everyone on-stage communicates in a friendly and clear manner when they address the congregation. The sermon is delivered with passion and is completely relevant to their lives today. There is an opportunity for guests to make a fresh commitment to Christ near the end. etc. etc. etc.
- WHAT WILL THE GUEST EXPERIENCE AFTER THE SERVICE IS OVER? The guest will receive an email from the Senior Pastor by the end of the day letting them know he was glad they were able to visit the church today and encouraging them to reply to the email, letting him know what they thought of their experience. By Wednesday, the guest will also receive a phone call from a church member who will simply ask if they had any questions about their experience in church on Sunday and to “look him up” should they choose to visit again sometime.
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