Guest Experience #5 – Determine ‘What’s the Path?’

We have been walking through the “Strategic Process” based on the book, “Being Strategic” by Erika Andersen by exploring the guest experience in a hypothetical church scenario. In this installment in the series we will be looking at step 5 – Determine ‘What’s the Path?’

If you haven’t read the rest of the series, you’ll want to so you’ll understand the overall context of this conversation. You may do so by clicking on any of the below links.

The Strategic Process includes Five Steps:

  1. Define the Challenge
  2. Clarify ‘What Is?’
  3. Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’ (Part 1 / Part 2)
  4. Face ‘What’s in the Way?’
  5. Determine ‘What’s the Path?’
So we’ve gathered a lot of information. Our final step is to review all of this information and identify the necessary steps to reach our hoped for future. It took a while for us to get here, but it was well worth it. Had we attempted the path before the prior steps we would likely have ended up with a complicated path with a lot of twists and turns – and it’s very possible we would never have reached our desired goal. At the very least we wouldn’t have understood the full scope of our problem and all of the possible solutions.
We’ll want to apply the following principles to this step again. We’ve also seen some of these principles in previous steps:
  • Be a “Fair Witness”. (be honest and objective)
  • Pull back the camera.  (look at the big picture)
  • Sort for F.I.T. 
Here’s what we mean by “F.I.T.”:
  • Feasibility. (Can we reasonably do this?)
  • Impact. (Is it worth it to do this? – Count the cost.)
  • Timeliness.  (What should we focus on first, and what should wait?)
So we’re going to look at all the data we’ve collected. We’re going to keep the big picture in mind and honestly assess what we should focus on first and what the most reasonable path might be for us to take. Incidentally, you’ll also discover that creative thinking is greatly enhanced due to us following this process from start to finish.
In this blog entry I’m going to focus on one of the three areas of focus we identified in “Guest Experience #3 – Sort it Out“. Remember, there were several categories we identified to focus on in this step. We sorted them out and came up with these three to focus on first:
  • Host Ministry: greeters, parking attendants, cafe host (coffee), friendly, trained to host guests in building, chairs saved for guests in sanctuary.
  • Sunday Sermon: relevant, application oriented, opportunity for salvation, opportunity to respond to God.
  • Guest Follow Up: email from pastor, phone call from member.
Focusing in on “Host Ministry” we will also remember to take into account the internal and external barriers while we build our path.

Here we go:
Here’s my first stab at building directional choices towards a desired future (a strategic plan) in the area of host ministry:
  • Cast the vision to the church leaders and then the congregation about hospitality and reaching our community.
  • Recruit one couple to champion a new “Host Ministry” for the church.
  • Build greeters into the Sunday morning experience.
  • Train ushers and new greeters in how to greet and host guests.
  • Create simple “Welcome Packets” for each guest (welcome letter from pastor, info about church ministries, map of building, etc.)
  • Free up 10-12 chairs near back of sanctuary for easy access to guests.
That’s a start. It’s the beginning of a strategic plan to cover just one of the many areas we identified we know needs addressed in order to create a guest friendly environment on Sunday morning and encourage first time guests to return. 
We aren’t finished yet!
I want you to realize one very important thing. We aren’t finished yet! There is one final step to finish this strategic plan. It’s called the “Tactical Plan”. Coming up with several directional choices isn’t enough. We also need to identify what steps need taken, who will take them, when they will be finished, etc.
Coming up next…Tactical Planning.

Go to “Guest Experience #5: Tactical Planning”


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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