Physical First Impressions (part 6 of 10)

2012 April 14-JMU (7) Library sign

  • Welcome desk location
    • Your Sunday morning welcome desk should be visible instantly and not crowded by workers talking to each other about Saturday’s ball game. Get the desk as close to the primary guest entrance door as you can – maybe even out on the sidewalk! If guests don’t know where to go, they’ll go somewhere else or go home.
  • Interior church signage
    • Is your interior signage coordinated? Is it in clear and large print? Is it visible down hallways? Some churches have color signage for different buildings or different age levels such as green carpet and green signs for elementary school classes. Just don’t make the mistake of changing your signage style with every new building.
    • New signage is expensive – but it can have a “wow” effective both on members and guests. Use color – it is very effective in all areas of your church buildings.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Physical First Impressions (part 5 of 10)

2014 12-December 27 (2080) Barcelona; Sagrada Familia Passion Entrance doors

  • Marked entrance doors
    • Are the doors you want guests to enter clearly marked? If you have multiple buildings, how do guests know what door to come in? Perhaps some clearly visible wording over the door like “Main Entrance” will cut through the confusion.
    • Regular attendees may enter through “short-cut” doors. If a guest follows a member into one of those side doors, the guest is immediately lost – not a good first impression. Help guests know which doors to use (and which not to use).
  • Appearance of entrance area
    • The main guest entrance lobby should be busy with people and signs to convey an image of an active, on-mission church but not cluttered with “funeral parlor” furnishings. Make the first impression an attractive, warm, colorful visual experience.
    • Word of caution – the furnishings in your lobby telegraph the demographic your church seeks to reach. Your grandmother’s furniture, while pretty, will appeal to, well, your grandmother and not 20-somethings. What does your lobby say about your target audience?

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Physical First Impressions (part 4 of 10)

2016 03-March 15 (7)

  • Lawn care
    • Is your grass cut and leaves raked on Thursday or Friday, especially during your growing season? Do your trees have mulch beds? Every three months, walk the entire church grounds with your lawn care provider – let him know your expectations clearly.
    • Dead trees and dead branches are dangerous to people and cars – cut them down. It’s cheaper than a lawsuit.
    • Trees are great – they help the church’s “green” image and provide shade. But, get trees with color (maples, cherries, crepe myrtles) instead of pines – people driving by will notice colorful trees. Avoid oak trees, they’ll tear up your pavement and sidewalks. Ask your city nursery for advice – you might even get trees for free (I did).
  • Flowers and color beds
    • You need to have something in your color beds year-round (unless your winter flowerbeds are covered in snow). Flowers say a lot to guests – get flowers with lots of colors. I guarantee it will get attention.
    • Get rid of bushes in islands because they block the driver’s view as she looks for an empty spot. If you want bushes, put them against the building (and use azaleas or hydrangeas).

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Physical First Impressions (part 3 of 10)

2016 01-January 25 (9)

  • Parking lot entrance signs
    • Can drivers see quickly (at 35 mph) where and how to get into your driveway?
    • What about coming in at night, in snow, or rain – is the driveway marked with reflectors, poles, or other visual aids?
  • Parking lot maintenance
    • Every other year get your parking lot re-striped. Well-marked lines help people park cars properly. It also cuts down on “creative parking.”
    • “Creative parking” can lead to fewer actual parking spaces and to a bad impression to guests. It is also a hazard if it blocks access to emergency vehicles.
    • Some first-timers come to an evening performance. Light the parking lot so they can see how to get back to their car and continue their positive experience after the special event. Of course, residential churches need to consider the impact of lighting on neighboring houses and turn off parking lots at a reasonable hour.
  • Guest parking
    • Ensure your guest parking (not “visitor parking”) is near the main entrance doors. Label these clearly so members don’t park there.
    • Some churches replaced “handicap parking” with “Special Needs/Sr. Adult Parking” so police cannot ticket non-handicap vehicles. It serves the same function but gives more flexibility.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Physical First Impressions (part 2 of 10)

2013 04-April 5 (34) London; Streets of Greenwich

  • Street signs
    • Make sure there are street signs on the corner(s) nearest your building. If not, ask the city or county to install signs on your corner (not one of the other three). Make sure people can clearly see your church is at the corner of Elm and Main St. and not the other church at Elm and Second St.
  • Exterior church signs
    • Ensure that the road-side signs with the church’s name are uniform. Some churches have signs of different architectural styles (Gothic, Baroque, Mission) reflecting the committee in charge at the time. Nice lighting is critical.
    • “Keep it simple, stupid” works for church signs, too. The signs should have “just the facts” – after all, there’s only so much fine print you can read at 35 mph. Somewhere the church’s website should be on the sign.
    • Signs with changeable lettering are not bulletin boards but are marketing tools – the messages must be a positive reflection on God and your church. Pithy messages are cute but what are you communicating?

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Physical & Personal First Impressions (part 1 of 10)

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Years ago a survey said the number one thing church guests remember about their first visit was (drum roll, please), the landscaping. That’s right – the church lawn. Not the sermon or the greeters but something most members take for granted (until the weeds take over). Guests speculate that if a church takes care of its grass, it is probably doing a good job on other things such as worship, childcare, etc. So, use this list to help ensure you are giving a good first impression.

 

Lead On!

Steve

 

Building Management (part 7 of 7)

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Capital-ize

  • Make a list of capital items the church needs. This list should encompass all ministry areas and range from small amounts to very large amounts. Update the list every year, make the list dynamic, and make sure every item on the list supports the vision of the church.
  • Publish the list and make it available to everyone. It will help members know that the leadership wants to invest in the facilities everyone uses. There is a chance someone will offer to pay for an item that appeals to them.
  • Another source of capital is to use any funds left over at the end of a fiscal year. Sometimes churches have more receipts and expenses. Use those funds for capital investment needs and let the church know how the money was used and how good the building is looking now.
  • Some items are so expensive and/or extensive that funding must be done over several years. Just continue to fund the project, and don’t quit halfway.
  • Put “eyes” on your list: itemize (make a list), categorize (group them), analyze (decide why this is a need), monetize (guesstimate the cost), prioritize (rank it on the list), publicize (tell people), review-ize (update the list each year), and thank you-ize (tell people when things are completed).

 

Lead On!

Steve

Building Management (part 6 of 7)

US Gulf Coast

Scheduling replacement/improvement

  • Every building has several major systems, which need capital investments over the course of several years. These improvements need to be tracked as they are made, and tracking is easy using Excel.
    • Paint – have a list of all rooms and halls and as each one is painted, write in the important information regarding that job: date, cost, color of paint, contractor, etc.
    • Flooring – have a list of all rooms and halls as each one is updated, write in the important information regarding that job: date, cost, details about type of flooring, contractor, etc.
    • Roof – this is one of the most expensive building systems but it also lasts about 20 years. On a spreadsheet record each roof and data about the roof: date last replaced, type of roof, cost, contractor, etc.
    • Gutters – replace any copper gutters with aluminum ones with a gutter guard/helmet. A gutter guard will decrease the expense of cleaning out your gutters and thus prolong their useful lives.
    • Electrical – record any major changes to the electrical wiring and panels
    • Plumbing – record any major changes to the plumbing, sanitary sewer systems, and lawn irrigation systems.

 

Lead On!

Steve