When we launched New Venture over three years ago we realized that our style and approach to doing church would attract a certain kind of person. We are contemporary/rock in our music and very relaxed and informal in our environment. Our services are media driven with lots of variety and change from week to week. We meet in a move theater and we are constantly using the big screen for anything from songs to video clips. Our message, though sensitive to the audience, is very direct and filled with appeals for action and life change. We are not what you would call the typical church and therefore we realized we would connect best with an atypical audience.
But one recent connection is somewhat different than expected.
Each week we send out welcome letters to guests who come our way for the first time. Included in the letter is something we call a “First Impression Response Card.” We ask guests to answer four very simple questions.
Last week I received a card back from a couple that has come to New Venture for the last three weeks. The first question on the card is, “How did you hear about New Venture?” Their response was, “I just saw the location when I was working at Enterprise and parked cars in the theater parking lot.”
The second question on the card is, “What did you notice first.” And their response was, “The happy looking people going to church.” That made me feel good.
The third question is, “What did you like best?” For that question their answer was much like others we have received, “The happy people and the music and sermon. It is the way we like it.” I was a little disappointed that the sermon was at the end of the list but I liked the response.
The final question is, “What would you suggest changing?” and their answer was, “Nothing.”
It is not uncommon to get answers like these on first impression cards. What is so unusual and surprising is that the couple attending and responding is in their seventies, and the wife walks with a cane. They are a precious couple. I guess even some in the senior generation finds New Venture to be an exciting place to worship God.
So if you were thinking your neighbors or relatives or co-workers might not like our style or relaxed approach, think again. Give them a chance to see for themselves. You might be surprised as well. What do you think?