The Auxano Team has spent some time reflecting on last month’s Guest Experience Boot Camp. We remain energized by how God brought together 20+ unique teams of leaders to take an honest look at, and design a powerful moment for, every First Time Guest that visits their church. Auxano’s Guest Experience specialist, Bob Adams, and I also love hearing the resultant stories of significant breakthrough emerging from seemingly insignificant hospitality tweaks. We are already planning two or three more Guest Experience Boot Camps for 2018 in strategic cities across the U.S. Let us know here if you would like to be one of the first to know when and where BootCamp 2018 will take place.
Looking back, one brand name appeared multiple times during the Guest Experience BootCamp: Disney.
Specifically the amazing attention to detail and user-experience that the Guest Services Team from Walt Disney exhibits every day. Using Disney as an example of an organization that creates “repeat” visits, should be pretty obvious and natural. Churches can stand to learn a lot from how well Disney welcomes and cares for every Guest.
It got me to wondering though, what if churches patterned themselves after other major commercial brands? What would those churches be like?
Starbucks Church – At this congregation, you can count on the pastors to seem very friendly and interested in you, but never actually learn your real name. The environment is styled and modern, creating some great hang time among your friends with each visit. In reality though, they are unapologetically over-tithing you. Nobody attending the Starbucks Church actually listens to the messages, as most are there just because everyone else is too.
Walmart Church – This big-box church experience is very generic and, as a result, everyone who visits can find something they like. The worship here is loud and there is a lot of it… but the quality of worship is suspect, at best. Church leadership is proud of their informality and accessibility to everyone, it’s just a bit weird that so many people are in their pajamas.
Apple Church – With this paradigm shifting congregation, every other church in town simultaneously hates and imitates them at the same time. However, just when you start to love them as an attender, they introduce a new location and/or staff. In fact, you can count on something major to change at about the same time every year, in the name of “just one more thing.”
Blockbuster Church – This once-mega body now holds a bit too tightly onto a grossly outdated experience, believing that tradition and their historic size will one day be on their side. The core belief here is that the church will return to past glory, and every leadership meeting devolves into trying to remember what worked “that time” a few years ago. As the years go by, and culture keeps changing, keen observers can look forward to this church’s building becoming a crossfit gym, hipster design firm or furniture rental store.
Target Church – See above description of Walmart Church and think just a bit nicer and cleaner.
Chick-Fil-A Church – Wait. Isn’t this a thing already? This church is always, and I mean always, crowded and staffed by an unnaturally happy ministry team. In fact, it’s borderline weird how much pleasure these folks get out of doing their jobs. Every Sunday morning, you start out thinking you will visit another church, but somehow always end up back here. When every other church in town is open for mid-week ministry activities, they are rebelliously closed. And their youth ministry STILL reaches more than every other hype-church’s (insert “fun” food or cult classic movie night) Awesome Wednesday Youth Group.