I heard this statistic many years back that is staggering: “People make a decision whether or not to return to our church within the first 7 minutes of their visit.” Just imagine — as they are driving into our parking lot, they are beginning the process of determining whether or not they’ll come again. As Section Leaders, we often think that connections on Sunday morning happen once people arrive in our Section. However, connections CAN and DO happen long before that. After walking into our building, checking their children into NL Kids, or grabbing a coffee from the café, they likely have already decided if they’ll be back next week.
This is why our parking lot is such an important part of our weekend services. Friendly, smiling faces help the first moments on our campus become a wonderful and welcoming experience.
Pastor Christine King and myself (Jon Plotner) have had many opportunities over the past few months to meet first-time families on Sunday mornings. In those interactions, we often hear the same question: “Where is Kids check-in?” When we hear those words, we light up with excitement because we know they are new to our church, and we have the opportunity to escort them right to our New Like Kids team. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to do this with one family at each service. I met them in the parking lot, walked them to Kids check-in, continued walking with them to their children’s classrooms, and then took them into the Living Room and introduced them to one of our Section Leaders. Can you imagine if this were you — brand new to town and New Life Church — then having this kind of experience? Within the first 15 minutes, you’ve had someone take the time to walk with you and eventually introduce you to someone who will care for you long-term in their Section community.
Why am I sharing this? Well, other than to excite and inspire you, it’s because we would love for your Section team to be a part of this! If you have a solid team, we would love to invite your hosts to join us. We are looking for individuals who would join is the parking lot as a “concierge.” A concierge would wait with the parking lot team for a new family to arrive and then host them as they walk through our building. If they have children, we would walk them and introduce them to our children’s ministry team and help them check-in and drop off their children. If not, we point them to important parts of our building, take them into the Living Room, and invite them to sit in a Section. That person (concierge) can then introduce them to you, the Section Leader, and invite them to sit with someone that is a part of your team.
We are very excited about this as we’ve already seen the amazing fruit of connecting and caring for our guests as they visit our New Life family. You’ll hear more about this in the months to come!