Mickey’s Commandments #3: Organize the flow of people and ideas

The 3rd in a 10 part series on Mickey’s Commandments, as related by Michel Lingerfelt at a recent conference. Building on the last two Commandments, this one starts to put into practice what you learned.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas.

You know your audience, and what their experience is like, now take steps to help people hear and understand the messages your are trying to communicate.

From the time you exit the airport, Disney has tried to move you through an experience. You head down to the lower levels of the airport, and check in for the Disney’s Magical Express. They tag your bags, which later appear in your room. Once you arrive at the resort, you may find that your room is not ready. No problem, they check you in, give you a number to call, and let’s go ahead and activate your park admission on the room key. Feel free to go enjoy one of your days at the park. When you come back your room will be ready and your bags will be waiting. No waiting or worrying. They are moving you through the experience, toward the attractions.

As you enter the park the experience is still controlled. The next time you are in Magic Kingdom, notice the forced perspective used in the construction of Mainstreet. Everything drives you toward the large castle at the end of the street. People naturally flow into the center of the park. As you get closer to the castle, the upper levels of the buildings shrink, giving the illusion that the castle is much larger than it really is. The upper balconies on the castle have rails about 2 feet tall, which give the illusion of scale and size. From here there are clear paths to take. Tomorrowland? Maybe head for Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain? It’s a Small World or Dumbo?

In larger churches especially, it is easy to forget to give people clear paths toward discipleship, involvement, even salvation. We do a lot of things, and have a lot of ground to cover. At my church, research shows that most of our people move from a large worship experience to small groups, and then into service. This mirrors our vision statement, which is, “Passion for God, Passion for people, and Passion to serve.” In most cases, people follow a path that is similar to the order of those “passion” statements. This doesn’t mean that this is always the case, but our data suggests this is the norm. This is something that we want to continue.

So, it is our job to make sure that people in worship learn about small groups, and people in small groups learn about opportunities for service. We don’t always do this well, but we are aware. Like a lot of churches, we can get people to come to an event, but we are running about 50-60% of worship attendance in small groups. Our challenge is how we organize the flow of ideas and people from large services to small groups. How do we do that in this culture? In this tourist-destination town?

When people come through your ministry, do you throw information at them and hope something sticks, or do you have a strategy to present ideas, and motivate people toward movement? From the review of the experience of your guests, how does everything from parking lot to pew to pot-luck help move people toward the things God has called your church toward?