I loved the article below by Justin Wise, I just had to repost it.
This article from Sunday Magazine helps us as church leaders focus on what matters to our congregations.
The key for you is to make sure you’re aware of your reputation. Just like people with bad B.O. can’t smell their own stench after a while, churches can become immune to the funk they put off. No one likes a stinky person. No one likes a smelly church. Here are a few different ways churches can keep their reputation from tanking like the Titanic.
A Website is Worth a Thousand Words
Did you know that 38% of potential church visitors base their decision to attend a church on the website alone? Our research at MonkDev shows that when people visit a church website and see outdated information, a clunky design, or can’t find what they need, they form a negative opinion about the organization.
The thought goes like this: “If they can’t keep their website up-to-date, what else is lagging behind?” As a web-savvy generation grows up and starts making its way to your church, your website will increasingly factor into the likelihood of someone visiting.
Make sure your site represents your church brand faithfully. If your organization is filled with creative, loving, talented individuals, don’t have a website that looks like it was built in the 90’s on Geocities. If you think of your church as a resource to other churches (a.k.a. a “teaching church”), well, you’d better have the website to back that up.
Simply put, don’t let your website communicate something that you know isn’t true.
The Devil (eek!) is in the Details
I was visiting a church recently while traveling. I saw some things that made me question whether I’d ever go back if I lived in the area. Paint scrapes everywhere. Giant holes in the walls. Plus, the displays in the main foyer were obviously constructed haphazardly. They reeked of amateur craftsmanship.
There was no thought, no effort, no care into crafting the experience people have when they come into the building.
To top it all off, the coffee was terrible. I’m not looking for Kona or Blue Mountain, but at least give me something that’s drinkable. Last time I checked, “swill” wasn’t a type of roast.
You might think I’m being picky, but these were my first impressions. The reality is that most folks will decide whether or not to come back to your church before the message is given. That makes the sermon a little less important, doesn’t it?
I love seeing churches that invest the time and effort into crafting a worthwhile experience for visitors. When I look at church websites and see “Director of First Impressions”, my heart smiles. Why? Because that church knows the details matter.
Now, more than ever, people want to be taken on an experience. The Church is not exempt from this. If businesses and organizations like Starbucks, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Apple Computers invest time, effort, and resources into crafting an experience for their customers, shouldn’t the local church? Even more so?
Churches that neglect this do so at their own peril. Your brand identity will continue to be established by the care (or dismissal) you give to the details.
Seek Out Feedback
Our family was out driving recently. I needed to merge lanes to get over to our exit. Simple enough, right? Only when I went to make the turn, my wife yelped, “ACK! Stop!” It seems I didn’t see the Buick LeSabre hovering just behind the passenger-side back bumper.
I had a blind spot. I couldn’t see everything going on around me. Had my wife not seen that stylish Buick, our white Honda Pilot would have become a nice shade of skid mark maroon. In that moment, I was very thankful she saw something I couldn’t.
Similarly, your church has a blind spot. You have areas as a staff that you simply cannot see – places that escape your vision.
Don’t feel bad about it. I don’t know of a single, healthy church (or organization, for that matter) that doesn’t have a blind spot. It’s part of what it means to be a human being. We simply can’t see it all.
These blind spots, left unchecked, can become a part of your brand identity. Maybe it’s an unwillingness to acknowledge a leader’s “creativity” with the financial records. Maybe you don’t see that every time you go out for lunch as a church staff, the wait staff runs and hides because they know they’re going to get stiffed. Or maybe you don’t see that the mission trips you’re doing are actually hurting the culture you’re visiting, not helping. These all contribute to the brand of your church and, if you’re not careful, could bring things to a screeching halt. Permanently.
The good news is that you can uncover most (if not all) of your blind spots. All it takes is a little foresight and humility.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out via email or phone! I’m happy to help.