“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s true-there are very few exceptions to that statement.
This past Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege of speaking to the volunteers of our First Impressions ministry at New Song Church. It was a joy to encourage them and affirm the tremendous work they are doing. After all, the thing that I hear over and over from people who visit our church is, “The people at your church are so friendly and so real.” What a testimony to those who naturally create such an authentic environment on Sunday mornings-they really do set the tone for the worship experience. Without a doubt, their ministry is paramount to the mission of New Song Church, “Helping people connect to God.”
During my time with this amazing group of people, I shared the story about my first church experience as an adult. I was 22, living an ungodly lifestyle, and had very strong opinions about “church people.” However, that all changed when one of my friends invited me to attend a church service at First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana. As skeptical as I was about “Christians,” the loving people of First Baptist Church reached out to me, made me feel welcomed, and accepted me exactly the way I was.
My first impression of God came from my first impression of God’s people.
My experience at FBC Covington led me to a relationship with Jesus and eventually into full-time ministry. And much in the same way, years later, my first impression of New Song Church was the exact same that I’d experienced at FBC Covington-loving and accepting. The result? God has used both of these churches to help me grow in my walk with Him. And I, in turn, have helped others to do the exact same thing, proving that first impressions are paramount in helping people connect to God.
A person’s first impression of you and/or your church has the propensity to either propel them toward God, or away from God-to say that much is at stake is a gross understatement.
What kind of first impression are you making upon the people you come in contact with at church, work, school, or in the community where you live? Do you leave an impression of love and acceptance, or do you come across as exclusive, and possibly even intolerant of those who are outside of the Christian faith? As a Christ-Follower, the impression that others have of you will also be the impression that they have of God.
So, again, I’ll ask, “What kind of impression are you leaving upon others?”
Think about it.