There are occasions in every Church calendar when the leadership team want to create a big impression. Perhaps it is an outreach event, a new members night, Back to Church Sunday or the first night of an Alpha Course. Whilst we can’t create a big impression all the time, there should be one or two events every year that really create the big impression to visitors. Whilst we all look for shortcuts to creating a big impression, the reality is that a big effort creates a big impression. In a world where everyone is bombarded with excellence, people are still impressed when an organisation makes an effort to impress.
For example this week I have been taking my boys along to our local church holiday program. As we walked to the church on day one, I was expecting the boys to have a good day with other kids from the area. When I arrived at the church the entire foyer was decorated with a jungle theme including hand made vines hanging off the rafters. There was a welcome team that opened the front door for us and showed us how to register. By the time I had dropped my boys off, they were so impressed by the foyer that they were expecting a great day. The foyer experience had created a big impression on me and my boys.
Michael Hyatt suggests that the “Wow Factor” is created when an organisation goes beyond our expectations. In other words to create a big impression an organisation has to go beyond the effort that people are expecting. But there are some guideline to remember when creating a big impression so that you don’t burn out your team:
- Cut back – it might seem odd to suggest that you cut back on events in order to create a big impression at Church but you can’t do everything. Your team will have to decide on what they will stop doing in order to create the time and space needed to put in the big effort required to create the big impression. Perhaps instead of doing 10 events that require a lot of effort you could scale back to three or four big impression events. Some churches have cut back from holiday programs every term so they can put the effort into one big annual holiday program.
- Beg and Borrow – no ministry has the budget to do everything they want to do, so think about low cost ways to create the big impression. One ministry drove a car into the church foyer to create the wow factor for a father’s day event, another church put a king size bed on stage for an event on Marriage (both items were owned by church members). Think about items that you can get or borrow for free and then use them in interesting ways.
- Centre piece – if you do have the budget for decoration, then spend it on the focal point in the room. When people are sitting or standing for the longest part of your event where will they be looking? This focal point is where you can spend your money and biggest effort. You don’t want to spend money on the foyer if the participants will spend 3 or 4 hours looking at a blank wall behind the guest speaker. However if you are after positive first impressions then what will a guest see first?
- Recruit Volunteers – having lots of volunteers will make it much easier to set up and pack down. We often forget how much effort it takes to pack up the event at the end, so organise the pack up team before you start. The more volunteers you have to make things before the event the less you will have to spend on items made by someone else. For example Conference bags are a standard item that create a big impression if it is full of useful items rather than just a pen and blank paper yet it can take hours for volunteers to stuff 100 conference bags carefully.
- Invite people to the event – if you are going to spend time and money on creating a big impression then you want people not just to see it but experience it. You need to spend as much effort on inviting people to the event as setting up for the event.
It is often said that “Excellence honours God and inspires others” and yet this takes a lot of effort. If you want to create a big impression it is going to take a big effort. After reading this post perhaps you need to lead your team to think through the rest of annual calendar to choose one or two events that are going to get the big effort and which events won’t require as much effort.
You might also like to read about creating excellence at Church
Also please leave a comment about how you have created a big impression at your Church.
markoffaith, Mark of Faith, mark of faith