How to Improve First Impressions in 2021

Paragon Insights

Churches are facing an unprecedented environment as they prepare to move into the new year. How can congregations improve first impressions in the age of COVID? Guests' needs are different and how ministry is done is changing. Read how to improve first impressions in 2021.

New Efforts in the New Year

We all want to make a good first impression, right? After all, you only get one shot at it. As we eagerly anticipate putting 2020 in the history books, we cannot help but wonder, in light of all the changes we have endured in the last twelve months, how do we put our best foot forward in 2021? What do we need to do to make a good first impression with our guests in the New Year?

At this point, no one knows what church is going to look like next year. All we know is that it will likely look different than it did before the pandemic. COVID naturally pruned our ministry programs and methods and pushed us out of the sanctuary and into the digital mission field. Where we used to focus our energy on the live Sunday morning experience, now we must spend equal, or even more, energy on engaging with an online audience.

Like it or not, tastes are beginning to change.

Some people are actually excited about going to church online. As tastes change, we must adjust our recipes to both reach and retain our guests, both offline and online. Life transformation is not limited to a one-hour service on a Sunday morning.

At Paragon, through our numerous relationships with churches across the country, we have begun to see a significant increase in the investment churches are putting into their digital assets and infrastructure. Streaming services are no longer a resource for our traveling members who couldn't attend on Sunday... it is now a critical component of church ministry. It has become a vital tool in reaching our community. And as a result, churches have had to begin to reformat their service schedule. Service times have been shortened. More effort is being placed on engaging with our online attendees. Even youth and children's ministry have moved online.

Church stage lighting upgrades for Prestonwood Baptist had a powerful effect.


In light of all this, what are some ways to improve first impressions in 2021?

First, wake up to the reality that we have just endured a generation-changing event that will alter the way we do things going forward. Every industry has been disrupted. Much like 9-11-2001, the world, and the church, will be different going forward. Use the pruning of your ministry schedule to your advantage. Identify the critical components of your ministry and work to improve them. Do not restart none-effective ministries. Let them pass gracefully. COVID already did the hard work for you.

Second, consider the needs of your guests. Try to anticipate what they will want and need and then work to provide it before they even realize they want or need it. You want your guests saying, "They've thought of everything!" Have the solution ready before they realize they have a problem. Post-COVID, this includes making people feel comfortable in large group settings by creating safe distances between people, providing sanitizing stations, and limiting bottlenecks and pinch points in your hallways and foyers. Think through every aspect of the guest experience from the website, to the parking lot, to children's check-in, and to finding the auditorium. Make it easy. Make it safe.

Third, evaluate your digital presence. From your website to your app, make sure it is easy, intuitive, and high-quality. At Paragon, we are seeing many more churches asking for studios to improve their online content. Sunday School, small groups, youth ministry, and kid's church are all now going digital. Embrace the change and utilize new tools to communicate your message more effectively. Going forward, first impressions are not about serving Starbucks in the foyer and having the right swag in your visitor bag. It's about connecting and engaging with all of your guests, both live and online.

Unsure where to start? We Can Help.

At Paragon, we are making significant investments in our research and development to provide our clients with high-quality, cost-effective solutions to make this transition seamless. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.