The saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Here’s a simple statement that will go a long way to ensuring a great first impression: Give the Best to the Guest! Every situation is an opportunity to either serve you or someone else. A first date often makes or breaks any potential relationship. First dates reveal a lot about the other person and their intentions. First dates often determine whether there are second or third dates. I’d like to say I always brought my “A” game on a first date…but because this is public reading, I’m sure there are more than a few people who might disagree. How do I know? Well, they didn’t give me a second date! Someone recently shared a story about a first date. She can’t remember the young man’s name, where they went, or when it was? All she remembers is that he bought a bag of her favorite candy. As they sat, talked, and nibbled on the chocolate, she had high hopes. Then, as her date was saying goodbye, he grabbed the rest of her favorite candy she thought he bought for her, and took it home for himself and his mother. No second date for him! Give the best to the guest.
First dates matter in all relationships. Whether its the first date in a potential romantic relationship, the first day on the job, or a first-time visitor at our churches, how we plan, prepare, and act will go a long way to determining the future of a relationship. How do we set ourselves up for success? How do we give the best to the guest and find greatness? Here are a few tips:
- Decide your goal. Do you just want to have some fun or do you hope for something longer-term? If the goal is all about you enjoying yourself, then do whatever makes you happy because this will probably be the only chance you get. Great relationships, including romantic, working, and church relationships, develop by putting the needs of the other first. Give your best to the guest. What do you hope might come from this first encounter? Prepare and act accordingly.
- Be the servant. This step assumes you hope for something more than a fling. If you want a real and possibly lasting relationship, put the other person’s needs and desires above your own. Make it your aim that they have a great experience. Give your best to the guest. Can you have fun too? Of course! But your enjoyment is secondary to theirs. Your enjoyment comes as a response to their enjoyment. Whether in romantic, working, or church relationships, the odds of future success will increase greatly if we put the needs of the other first.
- Think Strategically. Do your best to see the experience through the other person’s eyes. A great servant offers what the guest desires. Don’t give what you expect, offer what they would want. In a working environment, seek to exceed the employers expectations, not your own. In a church environment, try to see the your church through a first-time visitors eyes. Everything may be just the way you like it…but is it the way they would want it? Think through the process from beginning to end, with the main goal in mind. You wouldn’t take a country-club girl to a dirt bike race unless you either knew that she loved dirt-bikes or that you didn’t care if you got a second date. Give the best to the guest.
- Act Intentionally. Purposefully put you goals and plans into action. Be yourself, but choose to be the best version of yourself. Intention means you choose to act according to your goals, not necessarily what feels best at the moment. For a church, this means putting action to a visitor welcome plan. Train members to leave the best seats, best parking spaces, and best resources open for others. Avoid signs…no one wants to be singled out a a visitor. Act intentionally and signs won’t be necessary. Simply give the best to the guest.
- Love Unconditionally. How you treat “the lowest and least” reveals your real intentions. In a work environment, your actions and attitudes toward those under you will determine your advancement. If an employer only cares about numbers or how you please them, then find a new job. You’ll never find satisfaction or joy in that company. In a romantic relationship, if he treats you like a princess but others like lowly servants…run. Eventually he will treat you as beneath him too. Give the best to every guest you see.
What about you? So far, all these tips are about serving the other person. Here’s my promise to you. If you choose to be the servant, think strategically, act intentionally, and love unconditionally, you will learn a tremendous amount about the person, employer, or visitor you are serving. Either they will return the effort…and you find joy as you serve each other. Or they will only take…and you’ll take that as your cue to move on. Remember: Give your best to the guest. Every situation is an opportunity to serve you or someone else. These tips are the best way to learn and move from a first date to a great relationship!
Here is our latest message for our series Simply Great!: Give Up Your Seat. Listen and let us know what you think!