First Impressions – part two

  • Lawn care
    o Is your grass cut and leaves raked on Thursday or Friday, especially during your growing season? Do your trees have mulch beds? Every three months, walk the entire church grounds with your lawn care provider – let him know your expectations clearly.
    o Dead trees and dead branches are dangerous to people and cars – cut them down. It’s cheaper than a lawsuit.
    o Trees are great – they help the church’s “green” image and provide shade. But, get trees with color (maples, cherries, crepe myrtles) instead of pines – people driving by will notice colorful trees. Avoid oak trees, they’ll tear up your pavement and sidewalks. Ask your city nursery for advice – you might even get trees for free (I did).
  • Flowers and color beds
    o You need to have something in your color beds year-round (unless your winter flowerbeds are covered in snow). Flowers say a lot to guests – get flowers with lots of colors. I guarantee it will get attention.
    o Get rid of bushes in islands because they block the driver’s view as she looks for an empty spot. If you want bushes, put them against the building (and use azaleas or hydrangeas).
  • Marked entrance doorso Are the doors you want guests to enter clearly marked? If you have multiple buildings, how do guests know what door to come in? Perhaps some clearly visible wording over the door like “Main Entrance” will cut through the confusion.
    o Regular attendees may enter through “short-cut” doors. If a guest follows a member into one of those side doors, the guest is immediately lost – not a good first impression. Help guests know which doors to use (and which not to use).
  • Appearance of entrance areao The main guest entrance lobby should be busy with people and signs to convey an image of an active, on-mission church but not cluttered with “funeral parlor” furnishings. Make the first impression an attractive, warm, colorful visual experience.
    o Word of caution – the furnishings in your lobby telegraph the demographic your church seeks to reach. Your grandmother’s furniture, while pretty, will appeal to, well, your grandmother and not 20-somethings. What does your lobby say about your target audience?
  • Welcome desk location
    o Your Sunday morning welcome desk should be visible instantly and not crowded by workers talking to each other about Saturday’s ball game. Get the desk as close to the primary guest entrance door as you can – maybe even out on the sidewalk! If guests don’t know where to go, they’ll go somewhere else or go home.
  • Interior church signage
    o Is your interior signage coordinated? Is it in clear and large print? Is it visible down hallways? Some churches have color signage for different buildings or different age levels such as green carpet and green signs for elementary school classes. Just don’t make the mistake of changing your signage style with every new building.
    o New signage is expensive – but it can have a “wow” effective both on members and guests. Use color – it is very effective in all areas of your church buildings.
Lead On!