Share a nightmare with me. You agree to a blind date.
You aren’t sure who you’re meeting. You arrive promptly at the agreed upon restaurant. Your date hasn’t arrived, but it’s no big deal. You find a table and wait.
Time ticks away. A couple of minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes seems like an eternity. The waiter comes by and asks if you need anything. He gives you that look of pity. But you have not lost hope … yet.
“Did I get the wrong restaurant?”
“It was today, wasn’t it?”
“How can I slip out of here and just disappear?”
You feel humiliated.
As you are preparing to make a graceful exit, someone comes over to your table. It’s your date. You are relieved but also a little agitated. Not a great way to start a relationship. This person better be totally awesome, or there will definitely not be a second date. They already have some work to do just to get back to zero.
Minus the waiter and romance, this is what a guest experiences when they arrive at your church before a volunteer, greeter or leader.
To be courteous and able to be seated before the service begins, they arrive early at the kids’ check-in. But the doors are locked. The “unlocker” is running a few minutes late. “Did I get the wrong time? I don’t know what to do, sweetie. Nobody is here.”
Or the doors are open but no one is there to help them. “Am I supposed to do this myself? Where do I go? Is there another check-in area I don’t know about?”
Or they follow your great signage, find the right classroom, but no one is there. “So do I wait? Is anyone coming? Or do they not have childcare for this service?” When someone does show up, there is relief, and they will probably be courteous and not say anything. But they’re not likely to come back either. Who wants to repeat that humiliation and awkwardness?
Don’t make your first-time guests feel stood up.
Guests often show up early because they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know how long child check-in takes. And they don’t know what traffic will be like. So they often arrive even 15 to 20 minutes early.
Make sure your volunteers are present and ready 30 minutes before start time.
You’re much more likely to get a “second date” with your guests if you’re there when they arrive.