Creating Irresistible Environments with Stephen Brewster
An irresistible environment is an environment that exceeds expectations. How do the environments at your church stack up?
Stephen Brewster from Real Life Church in Orlando, FL walks us through practical steps to improve the visitor experience at our church.
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So what is an irresistible environment. It is an environment that exceeds expectations. How do we do that?First, we start by understanding that even our environments are an act of worship. We have a responsibility to prepare the canvas and set the atmosphere for every ministry event from sidewalk Sunday school, to service day, to communion.
Second, we must ask ourselves a really hard question: is this excellent? When someone engages your environment they should not feel like they could have created a better atmosphere at home on their own.
We believe and live out the value of Excellence at Real Life. Anything we do for God is worth doing well. Are we committed to excellent environments that speak to the excellence of God? One of my creative heros, Walt Disney said: “At Disney Animation we insist on excellence but never expect perfection.” Great environments are about excellence. They are about details and focusing on those details. Excellence is not about perfection, its about constantly developing better experiences that can help people bump into God. Brain Tracey, a renowned coach to CEO’s of some of the worlds largest companies has been credited with saying: “Excellence is a path not a destination.”
Would you say that every experience at your location is on that path?
Excellence is about stewardship and being the best steward of our resources. In that, we should be constantly improving our environments. Another one of our values at Rea Life is that we are committed to being Relevant. “The Message doesn’t change but the methods of communicating it have to.” – Which means environments will be in constant change but the excellence for which we set them will not.
How do we know if we are creating excellence?
- We define the win. Expectations are crucial to developing excellence and destroying the status quo. When we are not clear on expectations we have zero idea if we are failing or succeeding.
- Communicate the win. The real magic in defining the win is understanding the power of inclusion once the win has been defined. Clarify and sell the expectation to everyone involved and rally people around the win. When we do this we set ourselves up to achieve excellence and celebrate success together.
- Create WOW moments. A wow moment is a moment that exceeds someone’s expectations. Usually we end up talking about these moments.
- Have a plan. “A Goal Without A Plan is Just A Wish”. Proverbs 21:5 – Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
Once we are moving down the path of excellence we have to engage passion. Passion is the fuel that powers the engines of the machine that defeats the status quo. When our passion level begins to dip we forget about the amazing opportunity God has given us to reach people and reach our communities.
Passion forces us to embrace the truth that there is Never Just Another Sunday or Tuesday, or meeting, or volunteer, or space. Each moment of every day is a gift God is giving us to steward, maximize, and deliver excellence that is an act of worship to Him and for His glory.
Passion makes you care.
When we are passionate about our calling we never let someone else care more about our thing than we do.
So what if you don’t know what excellence looks like? Ask someone. Never be afraid to ask someone if you wonder if you are doing excellent work. Never say: “This is good enough”. Good is the enemy of great.
You got this! You are made to make great stuff. Here is a checklist to know if your environment is headed the right direction.
- Does this look professional or could I have done this at home?
- What doesn’t belong here? What is needed? (Wires, cords, mic stands, boxes, tables)
- How would someone who has never been here before experience this?
- Is there someone to answer the question?
- Is there music and vibe?
- What is the best lighting for this moment?
- Am I proud of this space?
- Is there trash anywhere? Or boxes, tables, chairs, or odds and ends that don’t make sense?
- Have we created a WOW moment (Exceeding expectations)
- Create a center piece. What is the focal point?
- Have I cut any corners?
- Are you working to develop an environmental team?
- Prepare in advance – Don’t be setting up when people are arriving and don’t be taking down while people are leaving.
- Does my signage make sense? Should I have asked Creative to help?
- Take a picture – We have to be able to remember this and build on it.