Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 57

Making a good first impression never goes out of style. But seasons change, and so should the way we work at connecting with people.

Our guest this week was Greg Atkinson, founder of the First Impressions Conference, running this year in its fourth iteration, November 4-6. The theme for 2020 is “Navigating a New Season.” Scott and I were honored to be invited to speak along with over 100 of our closest ministry friends.

You can reserve a ticket for your church team at https://firstimpressionsconference.comuse the promo code MALPHURS to get $10 off!

This year’s conference will be a great place to hear from leaders on the cutting edge of connecting with people in new ways, and working around COVID restrictions. If anything good could be said about 2020, it’s that it forced the church’s hand into getting healthy, and doing a better job at what it should have been doing before this year – meeting people where they are, welcoming them in, and sharing the Good News of Christ’s redemption with them.


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Here are a few things Greg talked about that never go out of style:

Hospitality is biblical.

Being welcoming to people has always been, and will always need to be a priority for Christ followers individually, and the church collectively.

Remember the bravery of guests.

It may have been a while since you were the new person walking into a church for the first time. An unfamiliar setting, nobody familiar, new sights, sounds, smells, songs, and processes. It’s a lot to take in. What could make it easier? A friendly smile, and a welcoming conversation. This is a necessary culture shift in many churches today.

Ministry is always people.

Everyone has joys, and concerns. If we don’t take the time to get to know them, how can we celebrate the praises, and pray for the needs?

The Gospel is Good News, so smile!

Don’t we have a lot to smile about? Make sure your first impressions team is trained to look like the redeemed, ready to praise people they are. Don’t be fake, a guest can spot a fake from a mile away, but as a leader of a first impressions team, make it a point to remind your people of their reality.

Strive for excellence always.

No matter what you have to work with, you can always use your resources to the very best extent you can. Be attentive to the details of everything and continuously look at things with fresh eyes, as a guest would. From the curb appeal of the building, to the parking lot, in through the doors, the worship experience and the final “goodbye”, be excellent.

The first impressions experience of a guest is just one of the things that we can help your church with on your way to being healthy, and on-mission making disciples of Jesus. We have options with more hands-on help from one of our Guides, or a more self-led option through our Church Revitalization University. Connect with us today, for a free conversation about how your ministry is doing, and how can can partner with you to maximize your impact in the world.


A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive. A.J. lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.