Since I’ve been on an 80’s kick this week, I may as well make a pop-culture reference to one of the greatest shows of that decade: The A-Team. 

At the end of every episode, Hannibal would pull out a cigar, light it up, and say those eight classic words: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Hannibal.  But I also have to admit that sometimes what happens on Sunday…as planned as it might seem…happens more by accident than on purpose.

Nevertheless, we have a group of incredible volunteers in the area of guest services that simply get the job done.  With no thanks to their leader (yours truly), they know their stuff and they know how to make their stuff happen. 

One of the coolest parts of my job is reading the notes and e-mails that we receive from first-time guests.  This one came in this week from a pastor and a brother of a Summit member…who is also one of our First Impressions Team members.

My wife and I were in the area Sunday a week ago (the 14th) and we had the opportunity to attend The Summit.  Since we are involved in ministry ourselves (I serve our church as Assistant Pastor, and we work with children as well), it is always interesting to see how things are done elsewhere in the vineyard. 

From the time we arrived, we were very impressed with the warmth and joy shown by the people who greeted us.  First impressions are very important, and the first impressions that we formed were very positive.  From the guy directing traffic who gave us a cheery wave, to the folks in the tent outside who made a personal connection and welcomed us, we just got the impression that these people like what they are doing and are glad we are here.  The greeters were knowledgeable about the church and—my pet peeve—did not point at where people should go, but actually walked them to their destination!  Oh, glory!

We also greatly enjoyed the worship, especially the wonderful choir.  We felt a real atmosphere of worship that made praising the Lord irresistible.  There was leading in worship, instead of pushing.

The sermon was just the right blend of deep insight and understandable application.  I took home a page of notes and fodder for further study.  It was right on the mark!

I just wanted to let you know that we enjoyed our visit, and that the plans and procedures that you have in place to welcome people are effective.  I am sure you know that these things are essential to growth.  Keep evaluating and don’t coast!  We will pray for you that the Lord continues to send hungry people your way.  I think He can trust you to feed them. 

God bless You

Tom Miller

First Impressions Team, you need to know that this letter is from a guy who expected a positive experience.  He’s a pastor, and he wants us to win.  However, every week you encounter dozens of people who don’t share that expectation.  They expect church people to be rude…uncaring…harsh…critical.

Just as we made Pastor Tom feel welcome, we must do the same for the guy who’s checking out church for the first time.  I know that you will, and that’s why I’m glad you’re part of the team. 

I really do love it when a plan comes together.