[photo credit: skreened.com]

[Editor’s note: before you read this post, please take notice of two things:

1. It was originally penned on April 1. (APRIL. FIRST.)

2. And if April 1 does nothing to jog your brain, you should definitely click the link at the bottom.

Okay, carry on.]

If you’re a regular reader, you know I spend somewhere around 126% of the time talking about all things guest services…particularly as they pertain to the local church…and even more particularly how they pertain to the church where I serve.

One of the components of our guest services team is what we call our First Time Guest (FTG) Tent: an area where FTGs can drop by on their way into the building for the first time to meet some people, get a personalized tour, and receive a gift for coming.

Today, I’m excited to announce something special we’re doing for the month of April. While we always give away a simple gift bag, I discovered we’re more than halfway through our budget year and – surprisingly – I have a good chunk of change left. So in the words of that great theologian Emeril Lagasse, we’re going to kick things up a notch.

For the next four weekends, we’re going to include special “bonus gifts” in over 100 FTG bags. Are you ready for this? We’re giving away a half dozen Keurig coffee makers, 15 Target gift cards ranging from $10 to $50, iPod Shuffles, GPS units, Summit t-shirts, Pastor J.D.’s books, gas cards…there’s even a rumor there might be an iPad in the mix.

That’s right. These are a few of my favorite things, and we’re going to Oprahfy this joint.

But the gifts won’t just be of the take-home variety. Not at all. A few lucky guests will get their cars washed, waxed and detailed while they’re in the service. And while nobody can be a First Time Guest more than once, one FTG will get what is certain to be a coveted prize…a First Time Guest parking spot for an entire year. That’s right: you’ll park in a premium spot right in front of the main entrance for 52 weekends in a row. Boomsauce.

“But wait!” you say. “What about those of us who have faithfully attended for years?” That’s the great news. Because one out of every four Summit attendees who bring a FTG will get a matching gift. They get a Keurig, you get a Keurig. They get a gas card, you get one too. It’s a win win.

We want our guests to know how happy we are to have them visit, and we believe that the gospel dictates generosity. Big generosity. GINORMOUS generosity. Much larger churches treat guests to Jonas Brothers concerts or even give away new cars. We obviously can’t go that far, but I believe these are entirely appropriate ways to get our guests to stick around for a second visit. And that’s what it’s all about.

For a complete list of the gifts (as well as the “fine print” on how we’ll screen to make sure they’re actually FTGs), click here.

Start inviting!