I had a random thought the other day when I was looking at a book of coupons that I bought about a year ago. I’ve known for a while that these coupons will expire 1/31/2012, but I didn’t realize how fast that date would creep up on me. Because of the encroaching deadline, I have already planned what coupons to use before they go bad.

Coupons are a great way to advertise your products or business, but when overlooked, they lose all purpose. It really takes a restaurant sparking my interest to get me to go there. After all, there are plenty of restaurants and coupons available to us. Just like churches.

This is where my random thought comes in. Customers who come in with coupons are there because they see a deal in that tiny piece of paper and they want to take advantage of it. I figure if I owned a restaurant, I would really hone in on those who walked through my doors with a coupon.

Why? Well, it has taken that coupon to motivate them to go there, either because they have been before and thought it was good enough to try again or they’ve never been before and they’re giving it a shot. They decided their lunch/dinner decision before they even left the house. They made sure they had their coupon. The impression that you leave them with is crucial to make them come back.

If they walk out thinking, “That was good but I’m glad I had a coupon because I normally wouldn’t go there,” then you have failed. You want them to be so impressed with the food/service that they are excited about going back.

You see, coupon-holding customers= your church visitors. God obviously brought them to your church that day, but you have this one chance to make a great first impression, andwhatever earthly thing that brought them there might not be convincing enough to bring them back (be it a friend or an advertisement, etc.).

That’s where YOU come in. I’m not talking about a pastor being that person, either. Everyone plays a role in your church, and one person can make a difference to a visitor.  Make them feel welcomed, make them feel like they’ve just spent their hour engaging with and learning more about God.

Don’t let your church be guilty of a bad first impression. Someone or something brought them to your church. You keep them there.

Does your church do a lot to reach out to unfamiliar faces? If so, how?