by Mark Entzminger/ May 13, 2016
Studies have shown that families do not wait to decide until after the kids are picked up and the message is over to make their decision about whether or not they will visit again. Typically these decisions are made within the first few minutes of driving onto the church property.
The first impression given to first-time attendees is critical in helping them choose to come back each week for the life-giving message of the gospel. Take some time to ask yourself the following questions about your children’s ministry and help make the first impression of it memorable.
1. What is the average time it takes from the moment a guest arrives on the property until they are greeted warmly by someone who can assist and answer questions?
They may have someone wave at them or open a door, but if that person doesn’t have the knowledge or ability to walk with the family and answer their questions and explain the ministry, it doesn’t count. Most families appreciate specialized attention to help them find classrooms and explain what takes place during the morning service. For a positive first impression, minimize the time people feel uncertain about where to go or what to do.
2. How easy is the check-in process for a new guest?
Does registering a child for entry into the kids’ service feel like a trip to the DMV? Certainly parents want their kids to be safe and the process can assure them of this. However the information form should be a good balance between as little information as possible and as much information as needed for the safety of their child.
In some instances, forms are created for the most extreme of circumstances that rarely occur. Find a way to address these issues without putting the rest of the guests through a painful process.
3. Does the church, and particularly the kids area, look appealing?
Many think this directly correlates to needing a massive budget. Here are some “budget-friendly” tips on creating kid-appeal.
Every church has a culture that attendees adapt to over time. However, a new person coming in will be unfamiliar with the language, purpose, and schedule of everything that is going on. An easy way to help close this gap is to provide written information the family can read when they have time.
This not only provides the family with information you believe to be important about your church, but also gives them something that occupies them so they don’t feel like everyone is looking at them because they don’t know what to do.
4. Have you created a first-impressions team?
It’s not uncommon to prioritize recruiting classroom workers within the children’s ministry. However, some volunteers may be better utilized if they help maximize the first impressions of newly arriving families.Consider building a team of people who will work with you to evaluate these questions and help develop a plan to maximize the first impressions of the children’s ministry and the church.