Initiates conversations with team members and guests in a way that empowers them to create Positive Unexpected Relational Experiences for our guests (P>U>R>E)


To build teams of people who consistently “wow” guests by engaging them in ways that exceed their expectations.


  • Assignment 1 // Read various portions from Climbing the Assimilayas blog post by Greg Curtis (all portions included in Assignment 1 below) and answer corresponding questions.
  • Assignment 2 // Read John 4:4-42, Acts 16:19-34, & Acts 3:1-12 and answer the corresponding questions in each assignment below.


Read about a real “guest experience” at a restaurant in these excerpts from Climbing the Assimilayas blog post by Greg Curtis) and answer questions listed below:

As part of my 30th wedding anniversary celebration, Michelle and I were given a gift certificate to go out to a nice dinner and we choose The Red O in Newport Beach. I made the reservation using the Open Table app on my iPhone and when it asked the reason for the reservation, I typed in "My 30th wedding anniversary". I didn't think this would amount to anything as I wasn't dealing directly with the restaurant.

I was wrong.

When we got there, we walked through a fairly crowded entry room that resembled The Museum of Tequila and gave our name to the host. He caught me off guard by saying, "Happy 30th Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Curtis. Please follow me". I thought to myself, "I didn't know they actually read the fine print on those online reservation forms" as he cut through the crowd and immediately brought us to our table.

This table. A table for 8. As we scooted into the plush, sofa side complete with pillows, I asked him if he really wanted to seat the 2 of us at this large table when there was such a crowd. He then removed all of the place settings but 2, and took away all the chairs. "There. A private table for two Mr Curtis".

The surprises were not over. Our waiter brought us complimentary Champagne to toast our anniversary with. After an incredible meal, we ordered a dessert they were known for, Butter Cake, and the dessert was comped again in honor of our 30 years together.

I had never heard of The Red O before. But as I waddled out of the this restaurant, back through the Tequila Hall of Fame, I thought one thing: I want to go back there for Valentines Day.

As one who envisions, trains and deploys teams of people who engage guests at our church, I am reflecting on what it was about the staff at the Red O that made such an impression on me. I am coming to this conclusion: If we want to help guests trust us and to desire to become a part of our churches, those who serve them must become experts at creating Positive, Unexpected Relational Experiences (P.U.R.E.) .


  1. Have you ever been "wowed" at a restaurant in an unexpected way? What happened that left such an impression on you?

  2. Have you designed a guest experience where your team has the freedom to do theunexpected? What have they done? What could they do if you envisioned them?


See P.U.R.E. encounters in Scripture.

I see the P.U.R.E dynamic at work in the New Testament when it chronicles what our Movement looked like in the first century when....

  • A woman came to a well in Samaria and asked a man for water and instead got a surprise relational encounter with the Messiah. (Read John 4:4-42)
  • A Roman Jailer expected to see an empty cell after an earthquake and instead found two prisoners willing to stay in their cell and share with him news that would forever change he and his family. (Read: Acts 16:19-34)
  • A paralyzed beggar asked Peter and John for some money and instead received the ability to walk in Jesus Name. (Read Acts 3:1-12)

After reading these 3 scriptures, answer these questions:


  1. Can you come up with 3 principles about “doing the unexpected” that these passages have in common when it comes to assimilating people into our faith community?

  2. Identify 1 principle unique to each passage that could inform how your team can create positive, unexpected relational experiences with guests.

  3. Which leader (Jesus, James and John, or Paul and Silas) do you find most helpful when envisioning positive relational experiences with guests? Why?


The Difference between Guest Satisfaction & Guest Engagement.

Mark Waltz, in his book First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences in your Church , discusses the difference between Guest Satisfaction and Guest Engagement. He says, “A guest can remain rather disconnected from the business or organization and be quite satisfied. Engaged guests have a relationship with the people who make up the organization.”

He goes on to describe the positive unexpected relational experiences that move guests beyond satisfaction to fuller engagement. He calls it "Wowing" them. He also says: “The challenge is to create an environment that allows spontaneous happenings consistent with your desired outcome.”

The wait staff did that for me at the Red O. I would have been quite satisfied to wait 5 minutes to be seated, sat at a table for 2 (not 8), been served good food for the price, with no freebies. But I wouldn’t be talking about them to you now if they had only satisfied me. The truth is, they engaged me and that is why I am sharing the experience with you.

What might that look like at Guest Central at our church? I think it would look something like these 2 incidences where I saw a volunteer bring a guest from satisfaction to engagement:

Incident 1: A guest asks where our children's ministry is.

Guest Satisfaction: Our volunteer gives her directions with a smile.

Guest Engagement: Our volunteer introduces themselves to their child, tells her she is pretty, asks how old she is, and invites mother and daughter on a tour of the room where her program takes place. Introducing her to her teacher while her mom meets the leader of that ministry, the room is incredible and the leaders winsome enough to win mother and daughter over. They will be back next week but the daughter will attend the children's program instead of adult worship and bring a friend with her.

Incident 2: A guest shares that she was moved by the message, confides some of her back story and wants to know how she can sign up to be baptized.

Guest Satisfaction: Our volunteer has her check the baptism box on her connection card and turns it in for her.

Guest Engagement: Our volunteer calls one of the pastors to see if he can open the baptistry right now after church. Clothing is handed out, a volunteer is asks to jump in and clean/heat up the baptistry. She has a conversation with the pastor to discern her readiness, she confesses her faith and is baptized with our Guest Central volunteer there to hug this tearful guest when she gets out of the water. Another volunteer grabs a bag and puts a new Bible along with an invitation to Next Steps in it and hands it to her when she leaves. One more hug and her first church experience in many years is complete.

What I witnessed in both these instances was a positive unexpected relational experience that caused these 1st time guests to return the following weekend. I experienced that at the Red O and want to return, not just for the food, but for the experience. Imagine what could happen when the Spirit of God leads volunteers who are willing to go off script to go beyond just satisfying guests and begin more fully engaging them!

A restaurant. A well. The Beautiful Gate. A Prison Cell. Guest Central. A Kidside Room. A Baptistry. It can happen anywhere. And when it does, everybody wins.


  1. What is a Wow Moment you've already seen between a Change Maker on your team and a guest at your church that could serve as an example as you converse with team members?

  2. What would you want a guest from your service to say to a co-worker on Monday about their visit to your church? Are your guest services and worship designed so that conversation will take place? What are three dial turns that could be made to begin moving in that direction within the next 1 to 4 weeks?

LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY (To be completed during group discussion)