Driving by the newly remodeled Applebee’s in Bonney Lake I pointed out the improvements to my 10 year old daughters.  “Girls doesn’t that look amazing, how they remodeled that in just a few days.”

Their reply got me to thinking, “it looks nice, but I wonder if their service is still slow.”

The last time we ate there was nearly two years ago, and the service was amazingly slow.  As 8 year old girls celebrating their water baptism they distinctly recalled how tired, hungry and cold they were and the service experience fell short of expected, way short.  They could care less about the decor, and fresh exterior to the restaurant which now proudly has the phrase, “Welcome Back” over the entry doorway.  They just want to know if they enter there again will they have a better experience.

Let me turn the corner of this to the world I spend most of my time in, church world.  Let me challenge you pastors out there to spend more time on your experience for the guest vs. your stuff.  What would happen if you could invest into the training of your first impressions team, make good coffee, know the names of those who walk through your doors.  Shock people with your follow up, your genuine heart for people.

Why do we think that the secret sause is in our banners, fancy thematic backdrops and lighting?  What if there is an 8 year old saying to their parents as they drive by your new street sign saying, “Yeah, but are the people still weird inside? Is that old guy at the door going to try and give me nasty old hard candy? Are they going to ignore me again because I have not been there in two years?  Is anyone going to welcome me this time? I have not heard any of my friends saying they like it yet!”

What past experience in some other church do you need to overcome by this Sunday in order to wow your guests?  How are you equipping your people to be sharers of the experiences you provide, or sharers of your culture?  There just might have been a 10 year old in a car talking about it this week!  Sure made me think!