This really happened to me.
I walked into a restaurant with my family early in the lunch hour. Like, 11:00 a.m. On the dot. As in, we were the first customers of the day. Surveying the place, I saw—well, nothing. Lots of open tables. And still I was told “give me just a couple of minutes and we’ll have a table for you.” I could see at least 12,000 seating options. But I waited.
As I sat down I intuitively wiped bread crumbs from the table onto the floor and thought, “This doesn’t make sense. There’s no way there have been other customers in here for lunch already.” Of course, the mess had to have been left over from the night before. We then learned that the coffee and tea were still brewing. It would have been okay if the posted opening time was 11:16 a.m. If they needed a few more minutes to prepare the place, I could have waited and shown up then.
Bottom line? This staff wasn’t ready for us. They weren’t really expecting customers—not this early anyway.
How about your church? Is it apparent that you’re expecting new people? Do first-arriving guests catch you by surprise? Here are some simple ways to communicate “we’ve been expecting you!”