In the business world, we often hear that it is the bottom line that counts. I want to suggest that the front line is even more important. By front line I mean the person I actually deal with in your organization. They may be the person at the door, the sales counter, on the phone. If they don’t see the big picture or care about keeping me as a customer, your company loses.

I am in the middle of one of those situations with Tracker Marine, the company I bought my boat from last year. After becoming frustrated with the local service department I called corporate. And of course the woman I spoke with was very apologetic, agreeing that the local guys shouldn’t have lied to me twice. She got on it, and it seems my problem is being resolved. But in a way, it is too little too late. I already have a bad taste in my mouth. The negative impression is now there. They will have a hard time rebuilding my trust, or having me recommend them to friends.

As usual, I want to apply this to churches. It doesn’t matter how much your leadership believes in good hospitality when it comes to welcoming guests, if the rest of the people don’t see that big picture, or care how the guest feels. There must be a culture of hospitality that runs deep throughout the congregation. Otherwise, one rude comment or inconsiderate action can ruin the whole experience for a first time guest.

Peggy and I just finished a brief e-book called “First Impressions – Why First Time Guests Return to Some Church but Not to Others”. As the title suggests, it deal with this very issue.  I haven’t yet decided how to distribute it (and am waiting copyright approval). But, if you are interested in a pre-distribution copy let me know. Just promise not to duplicate it while I figure out the rest of the process.