Archives For first impressions

Today’s guest post comes from Bill Blankschaen, with whom I recently connected at Seth Godin’s live event in NYC.  He’s a breath of fresh air and definitely someone who understands that we all need to Pick Yourself and start building a Tribe.

Bill BlankschaenBill Blankschaen is a writer, thinker, and speaker who is passionate about connecting real life with real faith. He has served as a church elder, interim pastor, and non-profit leader over the last fifteen years. His dozen years of retail management experience with both small business and big-box retail (Target) combined with his MBA from Case Western Reserve University with a concentration in Non-profit Management give him a unique perspective on ministry issues. He presently serves as the Principal of a successful K4 -12 Christian school near Cleveland, Ohio:

WOW experienceWOW!

Is that the first word on the lips of the typical person who visits your church, engages your non-profit , or encounters your ministry efforts for the first time? It should be. If not, something’s wrong.


It was the first word everyone used after he or she had an encounter with Jesus. And Jesus knew a thing or two about ministry.

Think about it. An offer to give a drink at a well gets a whole town talking. A request for wedding help behind the scenes gets a miraculous vintage. A plea for an extra shekel receives a fresh set of legs. A tearful call for sympathy produces life reborn as a stone is rolled away. And so it goes.

See if you can find an encounter with Christ that didn’t result in far more than anyone anticipated. Think about how it rocked your world. Now think about how people feel after they first encounter your ministry – a church, a school, a non-profit outreach – any extension of Christ’s call to love your neighbor as yourself. Is “WOW!” the first word used to describe their interaction?

When someone walks away unimpressed by what you’re pouring your life into, it’s usually not about what happened during the encounter. It’s about what didn’t happen. You were boring. Really. Sorry.

Here’s a quick way to make your ministry standout: WOW them – like Jesus did!

1. Jesus blew them away. Not only did he answer the questions they had, he met needs they didn’t even know they had. Think of the woman at the well. She just drifted into his presence. He intentionally engaged her and systematically built the relationship. Who does that today? You do, if you’re smart. Train your team or group members to invest the time.

2. Jesus engaged with bone-deep authenticity. You’ve got to hand it to him. Jesus never faked it. People can detect polite retail manners. Think of your last encounters with cashiers. You know without much thought if they were sincere when they wished you a good day. Authenticity stands out. Be real.

3. Jesus always cast a bigger vision for a brighter future. People asked him for physical needs. He spoke to them about their deeper spiritual needs. And then he met them. When people first encounter your ministry, do they leave still talking about the vision that pulls your organization forward – and how it can change their world? If not, why not? An encounter with Christ always left people buzzing about exciting things to come. Just because you know it doesn’t mean anyone else does.


Quit being boring. Get people buzzing. Be like Jesus. Make your ministry stand out by leaving all you encounter with one word to share – WOW!

Where do you think your ministry efforts need to change to better resemble the first impressions Christ left? What ways have you found to be intentional about blowing away expectations?

Leave a comment to share the growth.