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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Mark has done a great job of turning the tables on those of us that serve within the church and helping us to be mindful on how we are approaching those that are visiting our churches and meeting them right where they are at.

"These people don't want to be assimilated. Initially they may not care about our membership covenants, our small groups, or our Sunday school classes. What they do care about is whether we can help them address the issues right in front of them - the stuff that's affecting their quality of life, their sense of purpose and fulfillment"

It's about the relationships and allowing Christ to work in their lives.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone that desires to help those that cross our path's every Sunday morning so that we can meet them right where they are at!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book reads like a conversation with Mark. I love that. I felt like I was sitting in the room next to him with a cup of coffee while he transparently shared things he's seen work and bomb in church efforts to connect people. Connections. It's so loaded. It affects everything.

"At Granger there are people serving on our traffic teams who are still fighting overwhelming addictions. There are women in Bible studies who don't know how to love their kids in a healthy manner. There are men in technical arts who aren't convinced Jesus is who he claims to be. Every weekend people who are cheating on their spouse, their taxes or their sales reports return to a service to hear how much they matter to God. They are where they are. We must meet them there."

There is no perfect answer or one plug and play solution for a church to address this reality. But there are great insights that apply to all of us, if we're open to keep watching and learning. To pull, not push. To create space, not invade space.

"We can easily make our approach--our programs, services, classes and groups--more important than the people we want to help. When we do, people feel disrespected, insulted and parented. We are not responsible for people but to them. Being responsible TO our people is quite different. And incredibly freeing."

This book covers everything from small groups, to weekend programming, to volunteer strategies, to web sites and more. I especially appreciated how each chapter ended with questions for my own personal reflection and action steps; for me as an individual and for my team.

This is great stuff.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Few people have as good a grip on the inner-workings of church as Mark Waltz. His writing is both practical and insightful.

One of my fears as a leader is becoming a closed-system. I try to remain an open-system by reading books that help me evaluate the things its easy to lose perspective on. This book is a priceless evaluation of the process of belonging to a church.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We have been taking a hard look at our Assimilation Pathway here at our church. As part of that I picked up several books that were recommended to me. That is how I came across Mark Waltz book, another pastor from another church recommended it.

I think that the subtitle of this book, "From Visiting to Belonging" says it all. When you have visitor's to your church how do you help them go from being a visitor to being someone who feels as though they belong. How do you help them feel loved, cared for, wanted, etc. How can they feel as though they belong to your family.

Waltz takes you through the simple process of re-thinking how your church appears to a visitor. What language do you use and will a visitor understand that language? What programs do you offer and are they relevant and meeting felt needs or not? Worse yet do you have maybe to many programs and you are overwhelming people with too many choices and so the choice they make is, "No Thanks."

I think that Mark made a great contribution to we pastors who need to get a little bit of perspective that sales people have that we don't have. I'm not saying and either is he that we need to be 'salesmen,' but we need to have that mindset of asking, how inviting is our church? How does our landscape look? How does our bulletin look? Are we hitting the mark with meeting felt needs or just throwing together more and more and more and finding out that people are so overwhelmed that they shut down.

Thanks Mark for giving us some good material to help us wrestle with how to help visitors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"Lasting Impressions" is really an excellent and very challenging book about the process of helping people connect and belong. Mark is the Pastor of Connections at Granger Community Church, and earlier wrote a book called "First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences In Your Church". While the focus of First Impressions is clear (greeters, ushers, welcome desk, encouraging brand new guests to return) I wasn't as sure what to expect from "Lasting Impressions". It turned out to be a whole lot more than a simple follow-up. What I did find was a book that looked at those who did come back and asked the question "Now what?!" It's really about creating a culture of belonging, talking about the need for organic relationships, a good understanding of what you can (and can't) do to help people grow. As a bonus, the book has review questions and exercises to discuss and apply what you learn with your team. Chapters include: People Still Matter; Assimilation: Watch your Language; You Can't Create People; Starbucks, Stories and Space; Be an Environmental Architect; How Full is Your Menu?; What do We Expect?; Develop Relational Road Maps; Construct Volunteer Venues; On-Ramps, Exit Ramps and Mile Markers.

What really impressed me about the book was that it turned upside my thinking on a number of interrelated issues - small groups, how to recruit volunteers, how to encourage membership - and described just how much their thinking has changed in the past decade as the times change. Some takeaway points - meet people where they are at; avoid pushing an agenda or assimilation into a checklist of programs; get over being responsible *for* people, and be responsible *to* them; growth is a transformation process that takes time and caring relationships; be an environmental architect who considers purpose, use and people; simplify and reduce what you offer; encourage next steps that are highly relational; ministry is just as much about relationship as it is about task. There are several insightful chapters on helping people make a difference as volunteers. Personal invitations to serve alongside are still the most effective recruiting tool, but they do not neglect having a limited number of clear on-ramps, such as a Volunteer Expo, All-skate serve events, hosting a volunteer on-ramp online, and a 'Backstage Pass' tour of all that's going on. It's a fire-hose of great ideas, meant to spark thought in your own context rather than provide a model to copy. The book is definitely worth reading and is likely to make a lasting impression of its own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Mark Waltz's lil book is full of great truths and is an easy read for Pastors or Church leaders looking for ways to make lasting impressions - Kingdom impressions - on those who would seek Christ inside or outside of their congregations. Are you looking to move people from just being casually connected to your church to being full devoted followers of Christ? It's easy to tell Mark has intentionally and intelligently thought through ways to engage individuals and culture for the Kingdom of God. It's not the final word, but "Last Impressions" made an impression on this Pastor and I think you should most definitely check it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a very good book but it was not what I thought I was getting. This book is truly on moving people from visitor status to membership. And the ideas are right on. I bought it for my welcome team. It is not the book for them. Mark Waltz has other books for welcoming people. I do recommend the book and the ideas are spot on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a great asset to someone who is leading a Small Group Ministry in their church. Mark Waltz has some very helpful suggestions that can be applied by the leader of the ministry, or the individual hosts within the ministry. Good purchase!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Mark took a practical approach to this work. Not too much theological jargon, but enough to give weight where it was needed. When he did delve into theology, he was ready with an appropriate illustration.
It is relevant to all church situations. He doesn't give cookie cutter answers, he challenges some of the traditional assumptions. He even pushes us a little bit to look ourselves in the mirror and to question some of our presuppositions.
He was loving in his approach. He wanted to challenge, encourage, and spur his readers onto rethinking how they do church and connect people - he did so in love. He lovingly says, "It's all about relationships..."
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on May 22, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is definitely thought provoking at times and it is good to read something that reminds you of what you already know. At times I felt it was repetitive our it was difficult to determine the authors flew off thought. It gets lost in the stories sometimes. But I do recommend if you are having difficulties plugging people in to your church.
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