Establishing an Assimilation Plan – Part 2

Yesterday I hit some of the foundational concepts behind the need for assimilation in the church in my previous postIn this post, we’re going to dive in to some of the nuts and bolts of what that looks like. I won’t get too detailed, as that would make for a lengthy post, but below is a brief snap shot.  If you’d like a detailed, researched process, you can email me at nickp@mcmnetwork.org and I’ll get that into your hands.

In my previous post, I discussed the need for establishing CONTEXT.  In this post, we’ll tackle the next step in the CREATION of your system.  For this to be effective, you have to remember to do everything in your weekend service with the guest in mind. This doesn’t mean you dumb things down, but rather understand there are individuals in your service that have never been there before and you need to communicate and structure things with that in mind.

The first area to address is the ‘Pre-Service’ assimilation.  Helping people get from the ‘Street to a seat’. Here are the four areas of Pre-Service assimilation:

  1. Greeted
    • Ensure a guest’s first impression is a good one.  You only have 7 minutes to give a good first impression, maximize this 7 minutes.
    • Items to take note of:
      • Parking: (Is there adequate parking? Is it easily identified and accessible by outsiders/guests?)
      • Entrance: (Do you have adequate signage directing people to the entrance of the church? Is it necessary to have greeters outside to direct people?)
      • Entry: (Does the entryway set a ‘welcoming’ tone?  Is it dark/gloomy?  Is the first scent a guest smells a good one?
      • If possible, have multiple levels of greeters/hosts.  If you’re meeting space is a distance from the entrance, position greeters at major hallway intersections/doorways.
  2. Directed
    • Once a guest walks in the front door:
      • Where do they go?  (Is there signage or are there individuals helping them discover this?)

        • “Every good system needs to be backed up.  Let your staff and greeters serve as backup to your signs.” (Fusion, 59)
    • What do they do?  (Clarity will always ease anxiety.  Help ease a guest’s anxiety with adequate explanation.)
  3. Treated
    • Go above and beyond to make guests feel welcome, but do so with consistency.  It is very important for both guests and regular attenders to see a consistent process in place for rolling out the ‘red carpet’.
    • “When you give [guests] a consistent pre-service experience that makes them feel important, their skepticism lowers while their positive impression and curiosity rises, leaving you in the perfect position to make a real spiritual impact.” (Fusion, 61)
    • Hospitality Area
      • Staff with friendly, welcoming people
      • Have coffee or other drink options (tea, juice, water, etc.)
      • Have information about the church. (Brochure, Info Cards, etc.)
  4. Seated
    • Have ushers/service hosts positioned at the back of the seating area.  As guests walk into the seating area, they are there as a personal guide to their seat.

That’s the quick overview of the beginning of a good assimilation system.  Tomorrow we’ll tackle the next step of COLLECTION.

Portions of the above process were taken from the great book on assimilation entitled ‘Fusion‘ by Nelson Searcy.

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