I don’t want to become blind.

I don’t want to fail to see what other people see.

I don’t want to overlook a glaring hole in our process for welcoming first time guests. I don’t want to miss the obvious ways that we’re dropping the ball. I don’t want to get so familiar with the familiar that I miss the flaws of the familiar.

For the last few years, we’ve been a church on the move. As such, we’re constantly launching new campuses and starting new venues and experimenting with new service times. And every time one of those things gets underway, we notice the things that should be noticed. We see the peeling paint in the lobby. We make a note of the crack in the sidewalk. We recognize that the kids’ area smells a little too much like…well…a kids’ area.

But unfortunately, if those problems aren’t fixed within the first few weeks, we no longer notice them. When problems become familiar, they turn invisible. Not to our guests, to be sure. They certainly see the peeled paint and trip over the cracked sidewalk and smell the…um…efforts of our kids. But to us, it’s just white noise.

Andy Stanley said it well in a recent message: “The only way for you to evaluate what we’re doing correctly is to view things through the eyes and ears of someone you’ve invited.” If you’ve ever invited someone to your church, you know that’s true. You immediately notice the off-pitch soloist, the out-of-toilet-paper bathroom, the overlooked typos in the worship guide. Everything that you think your guest will notice, you notice. You notice it because you fear it will be a big deal to your friend, therefore it’s a big deal to you.

For a long time now, I’ve been telling our guest services team about the importance of thinking like a guest. See what they see. Hear what they hear. Smell what they smell. If it doesn’t pass the guest filter, then the “why” behind the “what” probably deserves a second look.

What are the things that have become invisible around your church?

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