I think it’s important to be intentional about creating positive first impressions for visitors. Most people who enter a church for the first time will form assumptions and judgments about the ministry within the first two minutes of their arrival. Many will even decide if they’ll come back or not during that same time frame. So I want to know what a visitor experience is like the first time they check out my youth group. What do they notice and what impressions do they form? Can they easily find us in the church building? Do they feel loved and welcomed?
Earlier this week I lined up a couple students to check out my youth group as first-time visitors. These kids don’t know anyone at my church nor have they ever been in my church building before. They’re complete strangers and agreed to help me discover some of this valuable information about my group. After their upcoming visit, we’ll get together and talk about their experience. I also wrote up this form for them to fill out and help guide our discussion. I’ll probably continue to use it with anyone I notice as a first-time visitor, too. And who knows, if this goes well, I might spring some “secret shoppers” on my youth group every couple months just to keep them on their toes.
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Posted on April 13, 2007