About a decade ago I was told studies had been done about what helps people want to return to church after their first visit (or not). Preaching and worship were the top 2 reasons people returned. Three of the top reasons people did not return were:
- A bad experience in children's ministry
- An unclean or unappealing facility
- Frustrations with parking
In talking about these with one of our staff team members it made me think about something important we can overlook. We're always communicating more than we think.
This Communicates That
Everything we do in our ministries and how we do it communicates a lot. Here are some things we may be communicating by what we do and how we do it.
Efficiency communicates “we care about your time”
Efficiency is important. So important that it is one of Disney's 4 keys to a great guest experience. We've all been in situations where something wasn't thought through, the result was an inefficient system, and it wasted our time. We have more children's check-in stations than we need because at peak times we still want to communicate we care about parent's time. We also think long and hard about how an experience will feel before it ever happens, particularly when planning events.
Communication communicates care
You may have to read that one twice. When we communicate with people, it shows them we care. When we give helpful updates to our staff and volunteer leaders it shows we care about them having the information they need. When we communicate with a volunteer by asking them how things are going, and we really want to know, we communicate we care about them personally.
Cleanliness communicates hospitality
You might be like my wife and I, where we really clean our house when we're expecting guests. To be honest, one reason we do that is because it would be embarrassing sometimes for someone to see it in its unclean state. But, we also do it because we care about our guests having a good experience in our house. We want to be hospitable. We want them to feel comfortable and welcome. In our ministries the long-time attenders will not care as much, but guests will.
Side note: A clean nursery or preschool environment communicates so much more than hospitality. It says you care about kids and their health, you focus on details and therefore you can be trusted, and safety is important to you. You cannot overlook that environment when it comes to cleanliness.
What else should be in this list?
I'm sure there are a lot of other examples of things we communicate by what we do and how we do it. They might be things we don't even realize where communicating. What else would you add?