Blast from the Past: Seven Crucial Minutes



Continuing my series on favorite posts of the past 8 years, this was originally posted on April 22, 2008. It still holds true…


Research has discovered that most people who visit a new church basically decide within the first 7 minutes whether or not they will come back again; the first seven minutes! That means before they hear any music, before they hear any preaching – before the worship service even gets started!

So, what are they basing their decision on?

You might call it the vibe they pick up, the almost subconscious impressions they receive, like a gut feeling…

  • As they drove up, were the building and grounds neat and well kept?
  • Could they easily figure out which door to enter through?
  • As they entered, were they warmly and sincerely welcomed?
  • Did the lobby smell good like coffee or funky like mildewing carpet?
  • Did other people seem glad to be there?
  • Was the children’s area where they just dropped off their child fun and clean with friendly, reassuring staff?
  • Did anything suggest that we were expecting any first time guests?
  • Did anyone strike up a conversation with them? Did anyone seem to care or even notice that they were there?

All this in the first 7 minutes.

How is ACC doing with those first 7 minutes? I believe each new person that walks through our doors is a gift from God. God has given us the awesome opportunity to show them the life-changing power of Jesus Christ through lives of full devotion in authentic community. Therefore we have a lot of responsibility to make those 7 minutes as positive and welcoming and stress-free as possible.

It reminds me of the old cliché, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.