Assimilation... it's a scary word. So this week in a two part deal I will lay out what Church of the Suncoast does because assimilation begins in the parking lot! Sound strange? Here is what we do:
Assimilation Begins in the Parking Lot. Really it begins before that. Can people find your church or where it meets? Do you have good signs along the main road if you are off of it? Do you know where to turn? We have two large signs along our main road and 3 smaller signs directing people to our school. For less than $300 we have taken the guess work out of finding us. This will be a common theme, but if that helps even one person find us and get plugged in they will out give that in one year!
Park Here. We Are Glad You Are Here! Once people come onto the campus we have parking lot guys to direct people into our lot. Don't get me wrong. There really is no other place to park, but this sends a signal to people that we are thinking about having guests each week. It also is our first chance to thank people for coming today.
Here's a Program. Go This Way. Next we have greeters stationed at each and every turn leading up to the cafeteria where we meet. These people are friendly and outgoing and they are able to direct people who might be looking for something.
Come on in. Here's Some Coffee and a Seat. Finally, we have greeters at the doors of the cafeteria to direct people to our FREE coffee and donuts. This is a piece of our WOW factor. It cost us about $160 a month to stock this area with donuts and good coffee. Again, you spend thousands of dollars on promotion, why not wow them a little when they do decide to come? It lets people know we care about them and the fact that they might have had to skip breakfast to show up on time.
Notice I have not said a thing about follow up, discipleship or other things you might associate with assimilation. That is because the average person decides if they are going to come back within the first 7 minutes of being at your church. At our place that means they have parked, dropped off their kids, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down. That is 7 minutes! No music, no videos, no preaching... And in that time they have decided if they are going to come back. That is why assimilation begins in the parking lot.
Later this week I will talk about what happens during and after the service. For more info e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org