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Intersection of Life and Faith

5 Lessons the Church Can Learn from Disney

  • Cindi McMenamin Author

1. Give first-time guests the red-carpet treatment.

Churches don’t slap a red “Visitor” ribbon on newcomers anymore because that, of course, will make them feel self-conscious. Most visitors like to slip into the back pew and perhaps leave early so they won’t be “harassed.” But for some reason, first-time guests at Disney parks love wearing their “First Visit” button. Could it be because of how they receive the red-carpet treatment?

At Disneyland Park in California, whenever a cast member (code for “Disney employee”) sees a “First Visit” button-wearer, they make sure the guest is having a quality experience. They don’t spend the day doing everything they can to recruit that visitor into a position at Disney or even to get them to return the following day or week. Disney cast members understand that some first-time guests will never again be able to return to the park. Therefore, their focus is to make it the most memorable day of their lives. 

If you are in a small enough church or just have regular greeters at the church doors who are good at recognizing familiar faces, it will be quite easy to “tag” visitors in your mind. They are the ones walking in looking a little dazed and confused, and maybe even self-conscious. Don’t be so concerned with getting that first-time visitor to come back that you forget the importance of simply making it a great day for them. Make them feel so welcome and give them such a good experience that they feel compelled to come back. 


Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/tiero