Have you ever been to a grand opening of a restaurant or store?
Leading up to the event, there is excitement. There is a buzz. There is anticipation.
A few years back, I went with some friends to a brand-new restaurant in our town.
It had the perfect location.
The building–indoor and outdoor–was really cool.
I was excited to go.
The experience was…underwhelming.
Most of the items on their menu were mysteriously unavailable.
The food they did have was ‘meh.’ The service was not very attentive. I was disappointed.
Here’s the thing: I still don’t love that restaurant, even though that experience was a few years ago.
Fair or unfair, something about that original experience has tainted all my other experiences with the restaurant.
Whenever a friend or co-worker recommends it as a meeting spot, my first reaction is, “Is there another place that would be better?”
The Grand Reopening
Here’s why I’m bringing this up: What if this coming Easter weekend is your grand reopening?
I know your church building has likely been open for weeks or months now, but not everyone has come back in person.
I’m guessing your in-person attendance is a fraction of what it was pre-COVID.
I have a suspicion many of our congregants will come back for the first time on Easter weekend.
What if everything leading up to Easter weekend has been a soft-launch?
What if Easter weekend is your real grand reopening?
If this is true, a bunch of people will likely show up for your Easter weekend services, and if the experience is “meh,” they may not come back in person for a long time.
For many attendees, Easter may be the deciding factor if they start coming back in person or return to their pajamas and couch, sporadically tuning in for online services.
So, providing a great experience is essential.
What it Should Look Like
Now, here’s what I don’t mean: You don’t need to up your technology game.
You won’t need more moving lights and a $100,000 LED wall.
You won’t need to perform the newest hit worship song.
It doesn’t have to be the best sermon you’ve preached in your entire career.
What I’m saying is it should feel safe, warm, and meaningful.
It should feel like the church your congregation loved being a part of before COVID.
And what will make it feel like the church they love being a part of?
It should feel like you are ready for them. It should feel as normal as possible.
A couple of questions attendees may be asking:
- Will someone greet me at the door?
- Will there be coffee and cookies like there used to be?
- Will there be a place for my kids in the children’s ministry?
- Will there be a seat for me?
I believe it will be wise to treat Easter weekend like your grand opening.
The kind of weekend where many of your people will decide if they will come back in person or not.
Of course, we need to be safe and we need to follow guidelines, but what can we do to provide a great experience that feels like the church your people know and love?
Go all in. All hands on deck.
This is a huge opportunity for our churches.