Guest Journey Mapping – How To Improve Your First Impressions

Mapping out your First Impressions:

How to use first time guest journeys to make your first impressions better.



The business wordl has been using customer journey mapping for years. They use them to litterally map out every step of a customer’s journey from visiting their website to coming into a store, how they ineract with employees and how the check out experices is percieved.

They use these maps to to help them get better at offering the customer a better experience and every point on the map.

At Grace Church we took this concept and translated into our first impressions process, mapping out our first time guest’s journey from the street to their seat.

Here are The 5 Essential Elements of a Successful Guest Journey Map.


Guest Persona

The most successful guest journey maps have a very specific guest in mind when they are created. Who is your guest? Is it an 18 year old college student or 35 year old single executive. Knowing who you’re trying to reach will help you better identify what needs to be improved as you continue your guest journey map. For us, our guest persona was a single mom with 2 kids.


Guest Centric

Any successful guest journey map has to be approached from the guests point of view, not the volunteers or leaders point of view. Don’t think in stages or steps of the journey from a systems or church perspective, the journey is based on what the guest does. This extends to how the guest thinks and feel, as they interact with your church across multiple interactions and/or relationship stages.


Specific Steps

Your guest map needs to be formatted in a way that illustrates the logical flow of events that your guest will experience. The map needs to also include the actions and interactions at each step of your guests journey.


Perceived Fears

This is the most important part of any guest journey map. For a person who hasn’t been to church in over ten years, going back to a new church can be pretty scarey!


Your map needs to address and highlight the guests perceived fears and barriers. Each step in the journey is a possible “off-ramp” to getting further involved in your church. The experience is bad at step 3 they might walk out of church but I don’t they’ll be back for a second visit.


Mission Statements

Now it’s time to wrap it all up into specific ministry mission statements. If you read “7 Practices of Effective Ministry” you know that each ministry needs to know what the “WIN” is. When they are done volunteering how will they know if they did a good job?


There are two parts to a first impressions mission statement. The first is the overall First Impressions mission and the second is the individual ministry’s ( parking, greeting, cafe..) mission.


The important thing is that the smaller ministry’s mission needs to be a continuation of the overall mission. Here’s a few examples.


First Impressions = To help lead people toward their spiritual next step


Parking= To help lead people toward their spiritual next step by showing that we’re ready and prepared for guests.


VIP= To help lead people toward their spiritual next step by alleviating any fears of the unknown.


Greeters = To help lead people toward their spiritual next step by creating a welcoming and friendly experience.


Cafe= To help lead people toward their spiritual next step by creating environments that encourage relational connections.


Ushers = To help lead people toward their spiritual next step by creating a distraction free worship experience.

Brian Beauford

Brian helped Grace Church get started and has played a role in almost every ministry at Grace over the years. Brian now oversees, the weekend experiences, communications, marketing and location expansions.