I love to eat, and I especially enjoy experiencing food from new places. But, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s difficult to choose new restaurants without relying heavily on recommendations.

Many things can go wrong at restaurants! Bad service, subpar food, dirty environment, long lines and an unappealing menu. They need to juggle everything properly or they’ll fail.

Restaurants rely on our need to eat. Even still, the fail rate of restaurants is huge: It was (before COVID-19) reported that 80% of restaurants close before their fifth anniversary — and that’s with a community that loves to eat out!

Now think about churches! Two-thirds of most communities don’t really know why anyone would attend church regularly. So, we must rely on that other third. And when they visit? We have to get it right.

There’s a tipping point of three critical things that every church must nail in order for people to want to come back. Interestingly, a restaurant has to achieve the same trifecta, too!

1. Benefits

Everyone wants benefits promised (for a restaurant or a church!) in order to visit. The more benefits, the more someone will be compelled to be a guest. If the benefits speak directly to their needs or goals, they only probably need one.

Your job as a church communicator or Pastor? Tell the congregation what the benefits are for coming. Remind them regularly why they like attending.

Don’t know the benefits? Ask them. If the benefits feel authentic, they’ll use that language to invite friends. This word-of-mouth marketing is the most valuable and reliable source of new guests. This is your Thread: the controlled benefit you talk about, over and over.

2. Expectations

Once someone hears a benefit, they raise expectations. Most people will visit your website to set even more expectations as they ponder “how do they supply the benefit?”. For the average person, they do this online very quickly; just 3-4 minutes: browsing, skimming, and clicking a few times.

Not looking for details, they just want to get a sense of what you’re about, how you’re different from other churches, and what additional benefits they’ll receive. It’s entirely up to you to quickly set up expectations and benefits to the average person in your community. Just make sure you can deliver. If you don’t? They’ll doubt you’ll deliver on anything properly.

3. Consistency

There’s nothing worse than bragging about the food at a great restaurant and convincing a friend to go, just to find out that the food doesn’t live up to the expectation this time. Will you return again? Maybe not. That’s why your church needs systems, processes, and follow-up to assure you’re delivering benefits and expectations. Every. Time.

When these three things are done well, the community will pay attention to you. The benefits are what someone is looking for, the expectations are the standard they want the benefits delivered, and your role as a church? To deliver them the benefits and expectations consistently.

NOTE: our church fail rate is high, too: 4,000-plus churches close every year! Get the trifecta perfect so we can lower our fail rate!