Andy Stanley on Creating a Culture of Expecting Guests

July 18, 2014


Creating a Culture of Expecting Guests

Andy Stanley refers to what he calls irresistible environments. They are unapologetic in their appeal of being attractional.  You have to evaluate every single environment. He says that if he could heal people like Jesus did then he would not have to be attractional because he could draw a crowd through healing, but he is not Jesus so they have to be attractional.


  1. Setting – the PHYSICAL environment.

People quit your church not because of THEOLOGY but because they are not ENGAGED!

  • Settings create first impressions.
  • An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins.
  • Every physical environment communicates SOMETHING!  Nothing is neutral in your environment. Every ministry environment communicates something. There are no neutral environments. Environments are the messages before the message.
  • If you want your environments to be great, you’ve got to define great. Every staff member and every volunteer in your church will know what great looks like and they will show up determined to work toward that predetermined end.

According to Stanley, the environment that defines your church more than any other is the weekend worship service. Nothing is more mission critical than the weekend service.

That being the case, it is imperative that our service programming team be aligned around a common purpose as well as an approach. As in all things, purpose should determine approach.Stanley and the North Point team designed a template to create a journey for their attendees from the parking lot to the worship service. It includes three large pieces with several incremental steps within each. At the macro level their goal is to engage the audience, involve the audience, and finally challenge them.

Pre-service experiences
Title package and message



Sunday people walk onto your campus and determine whether or not they will return the following week before your preacher opens his mouth. And that’s not fair But it’s true. The moral of the story: Environment matters.

  • Clean–When is your house the cleanest? Campus should be spotless. Cleanliness communicates that you were expecting me.
  • Organized – communicates that you are serious about what we are doing.

“A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing.” E-Myth by Michael Gerber

  • Safe – Safest spot should be the check in system. Seamless, quick and safe. We live in culture that worship their children – it’s wrong but its reality. You have to understand this.
  • Design, décor, and attention to detail communicate WHAT and WHO you value most.  For example, in the preschool and children’s department the décor is for whom? Not preschoolers because if it was then we would hang everything down at their eye level.
  • Design, décor, and attention to detail communicate whether or not you are expecting GUESTS.
  • Periodically, we all need FRESH EYES on our ministry environments.

Some people see a mess and clean it up. Some people don’t see anything. If a mess doesn’t bother you need someone else to point this out. How do you know if a mess bothers you or not? Take a look at the back seat of your car.


  1. Are your ministry settings appealing to your target audience?
  2. Does the design, décor, and attention to detail of your environments reflect what and who is most important to you?
  3. What’s starting to look TIRED?


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