There’s a common experience that many of us share: We have been the first-time guest. Take a moment to think back to the first time you visited your church. How was your experience? What did you see and hear? How did you feel?
Something special happens when people begin to get plugged into church. We hear story after story of people encountering Jesus, discovering their purpose, operating in their gifts as they serve, and most importantly, finding community. There’s something special that happens as people move from spectator to participator.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect gathering together. While it is essential to come together on Sundays to worship and hear God’s word, being planted in church goes far beyond the four walls of a building. Church is not a building, it’s the greater body of believers. To be planted in church is to be planted in community.
We often say that, at VOUS, people can belong before they believe. We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to create spaces for anyone and everyone to find a home at VOUS. But this doesn’t just happen by default; it happens by design. This is why we put First Impressions teams in place. The priority of each First Impressions team is to help show guests that the experience they are walking into was prepared specifically with them in mind. We hope that with these teams, we can help the person on the fringe become part of the family.
1. PARKING TEAM
It’s only right that the Parking Team would be one of our First Impressions teams. This team is literally the first impression people have when driving into our parking lot. Rain or shine, the people on our Parking Team are the first faces a guest sees when they arrive and the last they see as they leave. This team truly sets the tone for our guests’ experiences. Not only does a parking team eliminate the angst of finding a place to park, it helps from a logistics standpoint. Keeping the flow of cars moving allows people to spend more time finding community in the courtyard and less time waiting in the parking lot.
2. WELCOME TEAM
Next up is our Welcome Team. This team is strategically placed throughout our location so no guest slips through the cracks. They greet our guests with a smile and a sign, telling them how excited we are to have them with us. This team truly makes our guests feel right at home. From the family walking in with their kids trying to get their bearings to the person looking for directions to the auditorium, the Welcome Team is there to ensure each guest has a smooth experience. They will walk a guest to the place they need to be.
3. CONNECT CORNER TEAM
Finally, we come to our Connect Corner Team. After every service, we invite guests to pass by the Connect Corner. We have so much happening in the life of our church. This is where they can find answers to questions about VOUS, drop off their Connect Card, learn about next steps to serve, get plugged into a Crew, receive prayer, and more. The Connect Corner Team serves as a bridge, connecting each guest to the resources they need. This team does an incredible job activating those seeking the next step in their faith journey.
We don’t pretend to have all the answers or think we have mastered the idea of what church should be. The goal is not to get people into VOUS Church and away from the church down the street; although we hope people find their church home with us, our aim is to get people into a Jesus church. Because together we make up the capital “C” Church, we are not competition but teammates, playing together with victory already in our hands.
Our closing statement is the same for every Sunday service. Together as a congregation, we say “just keep coming back.” The invitation is always extended with the hope that people will choose to come back one more time, one more Sunday, to find one more opportunity to encounter Jesus. We believe that life is not meant to be done alone, and we want to ensure we always have a place for the people on the fringe.