We’re currently going through a Revitalization process at Grace Chapel in Castle Rock, Co. This is my third revitalization church and in that time I’ve worked with a lot of consultants and outside “experts”. Roger provided the most knowledgeable, thorough, and practical feedback I’ve ever received. Hands down. His seven phase analysis into our overall Sunday morning experience was phenomenal. In two hours, he helped our leadership team see things that would have taken us years to realize otherwise. I have previously paid more than twice as much and not gotten half the benefit.
I believe in Roger and what he is doing. He is a solid believer in Jesus and his ministry is a blessing to the local church. If you want to help your leaders define reality and discover practical steps you can begin taking to improve your overall Sunday morning experience, hire him. You’ll be glad you did.
Grace Chapel, Pastor, Castle Rock, CO
“Roger Graves with FIMP was an invaluable asset to our church. Roger did a secret shopper visit and report for all 4 of our CO Springs campuses.
His insights were brilliant, practical and so valuable. Many of the things he noticed are things that those of us on staff would never have noticed because we are no longer new. He was so thorough on all of his observations and recommendations.
I would highly recommend him to any church who desires to be a more welcoming place and a better reflection of God’s heart for all. Trust me, you won’t regret it! It’s well worth every penny you spend!”
Senior Grow Director, Woodmen Valley Chapel, Colorado Springs, CO
Roger Graves and his First Impressions Ministry have provided us with an invaluable service. We consider ourselves to be a welcoming church, with a deliberate focus on helping visitors feel comfortable and at-ease. Over time, many of our procedures have become routine. By paying us an unannounced visit, Roger saw our Sunday morning environment with a fresh set of eyes. Unknown to us at the time, he observed us throughout the morning. He evaluated our efforts in several distinct phases and categories from his authentic perspective of a first-time visitor. He later provided us with a detailed and comprehensive report of his observations and perceptions. Included in his report were specific recommendations for improvement. We were encouraged and challenged by his findings. Roger confirmed that many of our efforts were having the desired effect. Some of our attempts to be inviting however, were either not noticed or having negative results. Roger’s report is a resource that we will continually refer to as we strive to improve our welcoming culture. Some of his recommendations were easy to implement, and we did so immediately. Other long-term changes will become part of our staff and volunteer training. I want to thank Roger for his ministry, and I recommend his services to any church with a desire to reach and impact visitors. I remain convinced that a positive first impression is a vital component of creating a healthy and growing church where visitors feel welcomed, and desire to return.
Sunnyside Christian Church, Executive Pastor, Colorado Springs, CO
We contacted Roger Graves about visiting our church and amping up our First Impressions Ministry last fall. From the very beginning, Roger was very helpful in listening to our situation and coming up with a game plan that would target the areas of need and provide the feedback needed to make changes. He visited our church as a “secret shopper” and created an Executive Summary and First Impressions Report based on his visit to our church; he then presented the Report and Summary to the church leadership, as well as provided training for our current and prospective First Impressions Team.
The results have been amazing! Roger helped us view what the visitor to our church experiences on any given Sunday as well as take a proactive approach to developing this extremely important church ministry. After receiving his Report, we were able to meet and break down his findings and prioritize them into an action plan for our ministry. Through his easy to understand principles and his shared analysis we were able to see things that we weren’t seeing before and we have been able to take the steps needed to maximize our reach and effectiveness in this area. I highly recommend using Roger Graves to take your First Impressions Ministry to the next level.
Update: This year has truly been a whirlwind. Since Roger visited us, much has been done. Here is a quick look:
Brand new website
A focus on social media through Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram
Hired a professional photographer to take pictures, video and clean up our logo. We have used the pictures of our people and church to populate the website, social media, and future promotional materials.
Updated Google listing
Completely redone entryway area
A FIMP Sunday Morning Team - working zones, working on training and recruitment.
Installed First Time Guest signs in the parking lot.
Many of the small tweaks on your assessment have been taken care of.
Current projects headed into 2019:
Making presentation adjustments in the cafe area and baptismal.
Complete redesign of bulletin and handouts (we've started on this and have experimented, now we are landing on our final lineup)
Guest Welcome Bags (current project)
I am sure I am missing some things. Sometimes things haven't gone as fast as I/We would have liked. But the main point is we are moving forward and improving in a lot of areas. We have come a long way and we still have quite a way to go. Thanks to Roger and his First Impressions Ministry for getting the ball rolling on this end and pointing us in the right direction. It has been a big and positive step for our church.
First Impressions Ministry, Heartland Baptist Church, Sioux City, Iowa
It is amazing how quickly we get used to the mundane. The singular best gift Roger Graves gave us at Mountain Heights Baptist Church here in Buena Vista were a set of eyes and perspective that had not grown accustomed to the way we do church. From his observations about the lack of proper signage to the length of our announcements, it was a fresh perspective that we didn't have before Roger observed us in action as a "mystery worshiper." We greatly benefited from his study of the way we make first impressions. I highly recommend Roger Graves and his ministry to you. You will not regret it.
Pastor, Mountain Heights Baptist Church, Buena Vista, CO
“First Impressions Ministry is a valuable tool for excellence. I heard about Roger’s ministry after having visited another church. The greeting ministry at that church was so much better than any other church I had visited, I was compelled to ask their pastor where they received their training. That pastor referred me to the ministry that Roger Graves established, First Impressions. We had Roger come in and evaluate our church. The subsequent report that Roger presented to us has become our blueprint for improving the guest experience at our church. I highly recommend Roger’s vital ministry. We only have one chance to make a first impression and equipped with the tools that this ministry provides ensures that experience will be a great one.”
Dr. Michael R. Hensley
Senior Pastor, Heart of the Springs Church, Colorado Springs, CO
From our first encounter with Roger Graves of First Impressions to enacting his suggested changes to our follow up meeting, Roger has been forthright, encouraging and greatly beneficial to our leadership team at FBC Black Forest, CO. His "fresh eyes" on our parking, facilities, programming, worship and educational experiences, welcoming team, and people-flow gave us needed insight into the changes needed to make our ministry more people-friendly.
James said in Acts 15:19, "It is my judgement that we do not stand in the way of those who are turning to God." Sometimes we create man-made obstacles to people "turning to God." We get so familiar with our surroundings that we need a critical and objective person to come into our situation and make suggestions regarding how to better relate to visitors and take away the man-made unintentional barriers to their coming to our church and ultimately to God. We have already made changes in our signage, parking, and website thanks to Roger's suggestions with more changes to follow.
I wholeheartedly recommend First Impressions to your church if you are interested in reaching people for Jesus. The experience was worth every dollar!
Dr. Bob Bender
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Black Forest, CO
Roger Graves and First Impressions were extremely helpful to us at Encompass Church. We felt comfortable with our Guest Reception process, but knew we needed someone to see what we did from an outsider’s viewpoint. Not only was Roger meticulously thorough in the wide variety of arenas he examined, he did an excellent job explaining what he saw and why it mattered to guests. Roger did his research online and visited our campus in advance to know what visitors see before they ever set foot in the building. He arrived early, observed how team members and guests interacted, explored our facilities to understand what parents experience trying to get their little ones and teenagers into their respective groups, participated in our worship service, and stayed for classes afterward. When he met with us to walk through his report, he was gracious and encouraging about things we were doing well, and at the same time challenging and motivating about things we could improve. We have already implemented some of those changes and are planning more in the near future. I would recommend Roger to any church which wants to understand how guests experience them and what could help them reach the unchurched or under-churched people in their community.
Pastor, Encompass Church, Parker, CO
Our church congregation is buzzing with excitement after your First Impressions Visit. Not only did you point out unseen areas of greeting, worship and facility issues, but you also gave suggestions to approach each issue. Every single team member left the meeting, energized and excited, about how they can improve a visitor’s initial impression of our church. Your visit was a booster shot of energy, information, how to, and passion of how we can create a welcome place for the unchurched. To a person, every team member is glad you came. I wholeheartedly recommend you to any church and pastor. They, like us, will be glad they did.
Pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Canon City, CO
This letter is written to address the ministry and service of Roger Graves and the First Impressions Report. I was very skeptical at first about the idea of doing something like this and then shocked, after the consultation with Roger, that a ministry like this could be of such service to a smaller church like ours. He came and evaluated our church and gave me a report that was 62 pages in length and went into detail about ways in which could make our experience better for first time guests to our church.
The report answered hundreds of questions and brought to light some very specific things that we were overlooking or simply missing. Roger and I met to discuss the report after I had spent some time evaluating it; then we brought our key leaders into a meeting where he shared the report and answered questions about the report, how to read and understand it, and get the most out of the changes moving forward.
Since having walked through this process with Keyhole Ministries and the First Impressions Report I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see their church become better at attracting and assimilating guests into your current worship context. My board, staff, and myself as senior pastor don’t believe we would have had the clarity for change without the partnership with Roger. I’m a believer now after being quite a skeptic in the beginning about the value that a process like this can make to an organization willing to do the hard things for growth.
We’ve begun to implement some changes and other changes are on the horizon. It can be a bit overwhelming at first to look at a 62-page report with dozens of things that should be revamped and to decide where to put your time and dollars; Roger has helped with that process as well.
Pastor, Springs Journey Church, Colorado Springs, CO
I'm so thankful for the help Roger gave us. Like so many churches, we had grown so accustomed to our building and the rhythm of our church life at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church that we were not seeing things through the eyes of guests. Roger came in, provided a 190-point diagnostic on everything from the initial encounter on our website to leaving the building. He cut it straight and told us what we needed to hear. We spent the next few months working on our first impressions connectability; it has proven so helpful.
We have had new families come into the church. Much of this is due to intentionally connecting. Roger was helpful for Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, and he can be helpful for yours as well.
Pastor, Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO
Roger Graves and his First Impressions Ministries helped our church identify improvements we needed to make in our guest experience from his impartial and knowledgeable perspective. As the Chairperson of the Guest Services Team, I found this information to be invaluable. Because of Roger's detailed insights, we have been able to make changes very quickly and we already see a difference in how we interact with our guests and make them feel valued. I would highly recommend Roger and the services he offers.
Chairperson, Guest Services, Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO
Roger's awareness of church ministry, church growth, and church life make him a natural to help pastors and churches discover areas for growth and uncover blind spots in their church’s methods to reach their community.
Dr. John Shaull
Retired Director of Missions, Metro Baptist Association, Des Moines, IA
Roger Graves did a fantastic job with his First Impressions ministry for our church, Red Rocks Baptist Church. Roger thoroughly assessed all aspects of the guest experience, including reviewing the website, parking, entering, worship service, exiting and follow up. He gave his observations in a kind, gracious spirit that helped us to better understand and receive reality and change to better reach the guests who walk through our doors. His perspective would be beneficial for all types of churches. His tips for improvement transcend denomination, worship style, and church size.
We have committed to using his detailed report to review all areas of guest experience and retention over the next few months. His report is the gift that keeps on giving! Though reality sometimes hurts a little bit, we want to grow in these areas to better reach people for Jesus Christ. Roger's ministry has done an excellent job of partnering with us to accomplish that goal. I highly recommend Roger and his First Impressions ministry.
Assistant Pastor, Red Rocks Baptist Church, Lakewood, CO