I was reading this article about the NFL draft the other day. Now, my husband happens to love the draft. He will sit for hours listening to the incessant talking of reporters, coaches, players, and commentators. He will make predictions, applaud good choices, and watch the clock count down for the next draft pick. Why? Because he loves football. Perhaps a little too much.
Apparently, however, my husband is not the only one watching the draft (this is a shocking fact to me). What would make this seemingly mind-numbing event entertaining? Information. The person I heard talking about the NFL draft, who I will now refer to as “Draft Expert”, explained there is a wealth of information given during the draft. When you watch the draft, there’s a countdown to the next pick, details about the team who’s picking, a scrolling marquee that gives real time updates including previous draft picks, details about the best available prospects, and snippet interviews about the eligible players. Occasionally, the draft will even dig into a players family or background. According to the Draft Expert the draft dispenses so much information because:
Information breeds confidence.
Confident people enjoy new experiences more.
I concur with Draft Expert. Occasionally, I will watch the draft with my husband (for a limited amount of time, mind you). And having all those flashes of information truly does empower me to feel like part of the NFL during that draft. I scrutinize the eligible players, give my best assessment, and cheer when the team picks the same player as me. Why? Because I feel confident enough to “participate” in the draft. Information is powerful. Which is why we should be using it to our advantage in church.
What we can learn from the NFL Draft
1. Give people plenty of information
When people walk inside our church for the first time, they are completely void of helpful information. Don’t let them wander around lost and confused. Lost and confused people don’t enjoy new experiences! Confident people do. Confident people with information. Make sure you’re giving people information about where to park, what doors to enter, where the sanctuary is, and where the bathrooms are. If you notice a new family enter your church with kids or a baby, show them where the nursery is (that means actually WALKING them to the nursery). Put clear signs up. Have ushers and greeters available for questions. And if someone looks lost, just ask if you can help.
2. Let people know what’s coming up
In the draft, there is a constant countdown, letting the audience know how long the current team has to pick a player. If my husband can’t watch every second of the draft (rare), he will calculate when the Steelers will be on based on this magical timer.
In church, let people know when things are going to be happening, both short term and long term. Recently, our church has started using a timer on the projector screen 5 minutes before the service starts. This helps the worship team know when to start things and helps the congregation know when to settle down.
Long term, let guests know what’s coming up in church whether it’s a special service, a Bible study, or a new Sunday School class. Help them to feel “in the loop” by keeping them up on all the church’s happenings. A great way to do this is a Welcome packet which lists all the churches ministries. When guests arrive early to church, they usually head straight for a seat and would probably love to have something informative to read while they wait to for the service to start!
3. Allow people to feel like part of the process
Part of the fun (did I just say that!) of watching the NFL draft is feeling like you’re actually part of the picking process. All that information must be going to your head and it feels like you could make a good draft pick if only given the chance! Wouldn’t it be great if guests could feel the same way when visiting a church for the first time? What if they could see what kind of ministries were available, some potential volunteer opportunities (complete with job descriptions), and they said to themselves, “Yeah, I could be part of that!” What if they could walk out the doors after only one visit and actually feel connected and confident about the church? Now that’s something that’s even more exciting than the NFL draft! Information can do that. Post it, print it, share it, explain it. Whatever you need to do. Help create confidence in your guests and then give God the glory when you see them back the next week!