Making your visitors swoon, smile and sing your praises

Author Chip Bell recently released a new book entitled The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service. The purpose of the book:  how to create an experience that causes your customers to ‘swoon, smile, and sing your praises.’

One reader, Becky Robinson, related her experience about visiting NewSpring Church, after reading the book.

You have to read this unsolicited article that could have been written (in today’s internet age) by any person about any church.

According to Becky… NewSpring hit it out of the park when she was a first time visitor.

What can you learn reading Becky’s comments?

And what would Becky have written if she would have visited YOUR church that Sunday?



  • Mick October 14, 2013 Reply

    Hopefully she would not write a review like this which sounds comparable to a hotel review, but would write that she and her children were wonderfully blessed and challenged by the proclamation of Gods Word. Sadly her comments were all about her and not about Him.

  • Rev. Robert Barnes October 14, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for posting this. Success in welcoming is thought provoking.

    Obviously we can and should make people who attend our churches feel welcomed. Hospitality should be a maturing gift in our congregations, and it makes kingdom-sense to welcome strangers. I love Life Together!

    Here comes the rub. As a pastor, there’s a tension between creating a church that’s filled with people who enjoy being the one served, who enjoy being doted over, who enjoy it being all about them and their family–and creating a church that has attracted and kept people who know it’s not all about them.

    I am not interested in a false dichotomy between hospitality and God-centered worship. I hope I’ve made that clear.

    But I’m struggling with how we as a (small but growing) church put so much energy into hospitality and all the support and teaching and resources that we pour into that–and what happens? I have a very busy, difficult to maintain program that attracts people who are busy and difficult to maintain who seem to think that church is all about them.

    Maybe larger churches can have a minister of assimilation and minister of hospitality and minister of discipleship and minister of turning selfish cultural Christians into something else.

    But for smaller churches who struggle to maintain some sense of spiritual direction that is separate from the cultural direction of the moment with a little Bible verse attached, for a church that is trying to communicate some sense that Christianity is about God and his glory and renown, this feels overwhelming and creates tension. I know that where we should be putting our emphasis is God, his message, his sacraments, his people.

    Let me put this in a snarky way if you don’t mind. Why not just go ahead and give this family backrubs and pedicures while you are at it? If this level of hospitality is the goal and this is what it takes to make some families feel welcome, then why not just hand them fistfuls of 20’s at the front door. Surely that would be better and they’d write even more glowing reports on their visit.

    You can respond to either or neither. It’s just plain hard being a pastor when the morning email tells me that the bar has to be set this high or else.

  • Stephen Canfield October 16, 2013 Reply

    I have to agree with Rev. Barnes, what gets people to your church is what keeps them. If I am going to put energy into anything, its not going to be “concierge services”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about being nice to visitors and having a welcoming atmosphere, but honestly, who cares if you are over-the-top friendly? Especially to out of towners! It doesn’t push your church’s mission along and it is time that could have been used investing in people need to be discipled.

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