Last year Cornerstone Church gave me the opportunity to visit Granger Community Church (GCC) in South Bend, Indiana, for a “Connections Strategies Coaching Network”. This was a series of four all-day seminars designed for pastors and church leaders to connect, discuss and brainstorm issues such as volunteers, assimilation ministries and many others. Our fearless leader was Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections at GCC. His knowledge of what it takes to make the experience of a first-time church visitor a great one is quite extensive. So extensive, in fact, that he’s written two books about it, “First Impressions” and “Lasting Impressions”. And word on the street is that he has a third book in the works.
As part of these seminars, I got to not only indulge in the experience of Mark and GCC, but I got to connect with 13 other church leaders from all over the United States (we had some great travel adventures to share). I learned so much from these other leaders, as each church was unique – different denominations, church sizes, etc. But we all had the same concerns – how do you create a culture of volunteering, make a great first impression on first-time visitors, and how do you keep those visitors coming back? What an incredible way to tap into resources outside of Auburn, Alabama!
One of the guys in our group was Danny Franks, Connections Pastor and Campus Pastor at Summit Church in Raleigh, NC (Go Heels!). Even after our seminars together have ended, I still find myself laughing on almost a daily basis over the blog posts this guy writes in his Connective Tissue. But I also find myself nodding my head in agreement and saying, “What a great idea!” or “That is so cool!” I would encourage anyone in any sort of customer service area, but especially church first impressions/connections, to follow Danny’s blog and Mark’s blog.
All this to say that I’ll probably refer to them at times. But at least you’ll know who/what I’m talking about. I’m really looking forward to putting all the valuable knowledge I’ve gained from both of them, along with the other leaders, into practice at Cornerstone Church.