Morning Roundup 01/21/13: 10 Key First Impressions for a Church; Nashville Is a Hit City; Planned Parenthood
Devin Maddox wrote a helpful article on first impressions of a church.
People never get a second-chance at a first impression. Neither do churches. My family recently visited a church (no, it wasn't your church) and were able to get in and out undetected. Had it not been for our toddler's need for childcare, we could have avoided human contact altogether. Needless to say, we didn't feel very welcome.
Nearly everything about a Sunday morning worship service communicates something to first-time visitors. From the church bulletins to the parking lot layout, churches demonstrate how much - or how little - they care about people. Here are some things I learned from my last church visit.
1. Create a culture of hospitality
2. Train your greeters
3. Design a logical flow of traffic
4. Spell-check everything
5. Mark your entrances
6. Avoid awkward greeting times
7. Prepare a concise explanation of the child care system
8. Be careful how you gather information
9. Train members to assume they're the only point of contact
10. Treat visitors like VIPs
Nashville (the city, not the show) is now the "big hit." BTW, this is why I always tell conferences to come here-- it is a great city to visit.
Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville's status comes up.
Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat in his second term, is the head cheerleader.
"It's good to be Nashville right now," he said during a recent tour of his favorite civic sites, the biggest of which is a publicly financed gamble: a new $623 million downtown convention center complex that is the one of the most expensive public projects in Tennessee history.
The city remains traditionally Southern in its sensibility, but it has taken on the luster of the current. On a Venn diagram, the place where conservative Christians and hipsters overlap would be today's Nashville.
Flush with young new residents and alive with immigrants, tourists and music, the city made its way to the top of all kinds of lists in 2012.
The Christian Post has an interesting look at Planned Parenthood-- one that, I am sure, will garner some attention, debate, and concern.
Note: The CP mentions the amount of funding that Planned Parenthood gets, but the headline says "for each abortion." That can be misleading-- that is not the funding that the government provides so that each abortion is paid for-- it does not work that way. (I assumed people knew that, but it is worth correcting.) I think people need to speak out against Planned Parenthood, but I want to be sure the facts are not misunderstood.
The nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, reports it received $542 million from government sources in 2011-2012 while performing 995,687 abortions from 2009-2011. In 2011 alone, its clinics performed 333,964 abortions.
When broken down on an approximate annual basis, that means Planned Parenthood receives around $1,622 in government funds per abortion. From a time perspective, it translates to one abortion every 94 seconds.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, along with Board Chair Cecilia Boone addressed some of the challenges faced by the abortion giant in the past year, including the drama surrounding the Susan G. Komen Foundation's temporary withdrawal of support.
"The past year will also be remembered as one when Planned Parenthood faced some of its most daunting challenges in our history - and once again emerged stronger than ever," Richards and Boone wrote in their joint statement.
However, several pro-life organizations that consistently battle with Planned Parenthood were less enthusiastic about the group's perceived success, saying abortions are not a viable form of health care for women.
Currently on The Exchange, we are in the midst of a series on Transformational Groups. Here is the first episode from the series. Be sure to join us tomorrow and every Tuesday at 3PM Eastern (2PM Central) for The Exchange.