What Are Your First Impressions?

I need your help. Next week, I am speaking at the Focus On 5 Conference at Seacoast Church on the topic of First Impressions. I’d love to hear your first impressions stories. Share with me your first impressions of C3 …Or a restaurant, coffee shop or whatever. I might use your example next week. If I use your story, I’ll give you a Starbucks card! Thanks!

  • Duane

    Pastor-
    As soon as Kelli and I drove on campus we saw Ralph parking cars wearing a orange hat and orange gloves. Gerry Mouzon greeted us we a big grin and a heartfelt hello. I told Kelli that this is our kind of Church. God is going to work miracles this weekend.

  • samantha

    Pastor Matt!
    My first impression when i come to C3 every week is the sun that is over the church and all the smiles that it bring to service.

  • Bruce

    I had quite a few first impressions. One that really stood out was that this place is a great serving church. I remember people holding doors for people, holding umbrellas in the rain for people getting in and out of cars, staying late to do “breakdown”. I remember you hanging out and talking with us in the lobby the first time we came. I remember the sincerity and excitement and the simple faith that God can and does do big things. I remember the sponteneity and your allowing God to change the schedule within a service. I also remember the relatively diverse demographics, both in ethnicity and in worldly resources and thought that was great. Another thing I remember is people praying for others in the lobby after services. The great thing is that these features are still here today, 6 years later, even though our structure has changed a lot. God is doing awesome things.

  • Jane – The Figs

    I visited when Phil Dooley was here in July 2006. I ditto Duane, it was an unforgettable 1st impression from the parking lot. The person who greeted me @ the door could tell it was my 1st time, so when I asked for directions to the restroom, she accompanied me – all this with genuine kindness. The worship blew me away. The order & reverence of the whole service was like nothing I had ever experienced. When I phoned Mike (we were just relocating up) to tell him that I had found our home church, after just one visit, he was telling me to slow down. That, of course, changed when he came up 3 weeks later & attended his 1st C3 service. We didn’t have to look any further, actually, we didn’t even look anywhere else. Our 3 sons plugged in immediately & were embraced by their ministry leaders, this was also new to us. That even as teens, the congregation encouraged them to serve. Our family has experienced God’s favor first hand in our daily walk, but it has been even more visible since we’ve been up here in NC. Thank you sticking to the vision God’s given you of a life-giving church & not changing it. God has seen & honors your steadfastness. You know, He promises to show up mightily & it’s time!!!!

  • pipes

    Believe or not…this coming Friend Weekend will mark our 2 year anniversary when Debi and I visited C3 for the very first time. Our first impressions were: They love God and want to fulfill His plan; they were real and authentic; everyone had a servant’s heart; they utilized their resources with excellence; they had big vision for the future. Now that my family and I are here and I’m on staff we do our best to exemplify all those traits. It’s amazing what can happen when you have a positive first impression because you never have a second chance to make a first impression!!

  • Dan

    Pastor Matt,
    My first impression of the church was how many volunteers are serving here. People have caught the vision and want to serve. Its amazing to see what God is doing in the lives of each person serving. We are all expressing our love for God through servanthood.
    The worship was excellent, full of energy, and life giving. Your messages are relevant and touches the lives of the unchurched, new believer and mature believer alike.
    Thank you Pastor for your vision to reach one person, one city, one county, one region, for the kingdom. We are with you.
    Dan

  • Dan

    Pastor Matt,
    My first impression of the church was how many volunteers are serving here. People have caught the vision and want to serve. Its amazing to see what God is doing in the lives of each person serving. We are all expressing our love for God through servanthood.
    The worship was excellent, full of energy, and life giving. Your messages are relevant and touches the lives of the unchurched, new believer and mature believer alike.
    Thank you Pastor for your vision to reach one person, one city, one county, one region, for the kingdom. We are with you.
    Dan

  • ken s

    For me if I visit, attend, go to a place, event or function for the first time, and have one question or less after the experience, I chalk it up as a demonstration of excellence and feel good. Typically discussion,about the experience is all positive. You leave with a desire to go back. To me the measure of a first impression is,”I want or will go back for more.”
    My first time at C3 was at Cleveland Elementary. I remember these things as a first impression: 1. Once on campus I knew where to go. 2. People greeted us. 3. Friendly atmosphere even though facility was rented. 4. Presentation was crisp and service transition smooth, even though a temporary facility. 5. Received good teaching I could put to use. 6. Wanted to go back. 7. Got to meet Pastor Matt and he prayed for us. (moving from Tn.)
    If a first impression or experience is filled with a butch of questions and or a I wish list
    it will affect growth, probably die, and unlikely to bear any fruit. Think about it, You remember the all the good experiences from a solid first impression. Jesus is full of first impressions. Ken

  • When I was in college in Tennesee, one of my class assignments was to visit a church that was known for handling snakes. Wierd. There were only 2 churches within an hour and a half of my school that did the snake thing, so a classmate and myself drove 2 hours because we got lost on the way and when we finally arrived we were very scared. We pulled into the parking lot and didn’t see anyone at all. There were a few cars parked outside in a gravel lot and of course it was cold outside because it was winter. Just the idea of showing up at this church was scary but when we walked in the church there were a couple of people sitting around and they smiled at us like normal people do, except one person was missing a couple of teeth. Anyway, they informed us that we were late for Sunday School and we can go to the young folks class if we wanted or we could wait for church to start. We opted to go to class – when asking where the class was the lady said “go down the hall there and turn right, the young people usually meet in the classroom on the other side of the bathrooms.” She didn’t escort us to class or anything. After Sunday School we followed the only 2 teenagers in the class into the santuary where they were about to start singing with an 8 person choir.(By the way, I had to tell the choir director 3 times that I did not want to sing in the choir, then after I heard the choir singing I realized they didn’t want to sing in the choir either.) After that the preacher, a short old man with a mis-matched suit preached for almost an hour. There was no structure to his sermon and the things he said didn’t make much sense theologically. He gave an opportunity for people to “come to the altar and be forgave.” (those were his exact words) Anyway, we never saw any snakes. But when we left we were happy to be back in the car safely. In short, my first impression was eery. And being looked at funny by everyone at the church didn’t help either. (Everyone looked at us as if they knew we were from out of town. It seemed as if they weren’t comfortable with us being there.) When we were leaving one of the older ladies said “come back!” Sounds like a crazy experience but true. Needless to say there was no coffee, no handshakes, no real effort to greet us, no compassion, no respect, which equaled no desire on our part to return to that church.

  • Robin and Chris Cavanaugh

    From Robin and Chris Cavanaugh:
    As me and my husband first walked into C3 we knew we were home. We felt an instant connection as we walked in and saw the smiling faces and welcoming words. For us C3 is family. How often we wish for another chance to make a fresh beginning. It does not take a special time to make a brand-new start, it only takes the deep desire to let God’s Love in your heart and live the Life of Christ, and this is what C3 has done for us and so many others. C3 has taught us to have a peace of mind and what we were looking for wasn’t that hard to find which is God’s Love, because it surrounds you. Pastor Matt has taught us that God is in every tomorrow, therefore we live for today. We thank God everyday for leading us to C3 which is from God’s creativness through his helpers hands.
    Sincerely, Cavanaughs

  • Fred & Karen Brooks

    When Fred and I first drove onto the C3 campus we were overwhelmed with the feeling of the presence of God, even in the parking lot. We were totally impressed with those who parked the cars, opened the doors and greeted us, and with those who showed us where we needed to go. We left that service and went out to get something to eat. But we ended up doing more talking about C3 and the incredible service than we did eating. The first thing I thought was “I just want to live at C3” We had been looking for a church home for a long time, and we knew before we ever entered the doors that first night(Saturday) that C3 was going to be that place for us. C3 changed our lives drastically. We can’t imagine being anywhere else, and we are totally “plugged in”.

  • Fred & Karen Brooks

    When Fred and I first drove onto the C3 campus we were overwhelmed with the feeling of the presence of God, even in the parking lot. We were totally impressed with those who parked the cars, opened the doors and greeted us, and with those who showed us where we needed to go. We left that service and went out to get something to eat. But we ended up doing more talking about C3 and the incredible service than we did eating. The first thing I thought was “I just want to live at C3” We had been looking for a church home for a long time, and we knew before we ever entered the doors that first night(Saturday) that C3 was going to be that place for us. C3 changed our lives drastically. We can’t imagine being anywhere else, and we are totally “plugged in”.

  • Fred & Karen Brooks

    When Fred and I first drove onto the C3 campus we were overwhelmed with the feeling of the presence of God, even in the parking lot. We were totally impressed with those who parked the cars, opened the doors and greeted us, and with those who showed us where we needed to go. We left that service and went out to get something to eat. But we ended up doing more talking about C3 and the incredible service than we did eating. The first thing I thought was “I just want to live at C3” We had been looking for a church home for a long time, and we knew before we ever entered the doors that first night(Saturday) that C3 was going to be that place for us. C3 changed our lives drastically. We can’t imagine being anywhere else, and we are totally “plugged in”.

  • My fist Sunday was at Cleveland Elementary and I remember the authenticity. Nothing was perfect (and you know how critical I can be) but it was all so authentic.
    I remember singing to God like He was in the room (he was). I remember hearing a message from Acts that was so understandable that it was refreshing.
    I even remember Matt handcuffing the guitar player to represent how we handcuff ourselves from being able to help others when we live in sin.
    I remember hearing God’s voice because of a church that kept it simple and kept it real.
    Daryl

  • Karen

    My first time to C3 I expected to be my last time in a church. I had given up on finding love at church. I was wrong. The very first person I met welcomed me, cared for our family, and helped us find our way. She made sure my son felt comfortable in his preschool class, and broke down months of barriers that other churches had built up. She introduced us to people like us, from Ohio or with younger kids. And she let us know the coffee was free :). Because of the way she reached out, I was ready for the message of hope Pastor Matt shared that day. Our family was transformed! Praise God for that!

  • Kathy

    I remember the first time I came to C3 Church vividly. I remember driving into the gravel parking lot, seeing the Johnston County dirt and dust being kicked up in the rear view mirror, and thinking is this really church? We walked in, being warmly greeted by members, and were guided to our seats. The band began playing the praise and worship music, and being from from a very reserved church, I again asked myself, “Is this really church?” Then, I heard the message, a message from Pastor Matt. I left that day with no questions….”Yes, this is definitely church!” What a blessing it is to be a part of such a real and spirit filled church! Thank you!

  • Amy

    First impressions… Ok, well for me the first thing I thought when I read this blog is ” Man I want that Starbucks Card!” So way to go Pastor for gettin our attention and making quite an impression!
    For me, C3 is quite similar to that free gift card. The messages are so simple and easy to apply to your life. You are literally so excited to see what God is going to do next. I can just imagine the stage field with free Jesus gift cards every Sunday and all of us C3 people come piling in each week to get our free gift, Jesus Christ! So if you want a life changing experience come on over to C3, you will never forget the impression God will leave on your life! I know I have truly been changed!

  • Beverley Webber

    The first time my Husband and I came to C3, we came because our Son had been with his Aunt, and he wanted us to go, I had been let down by the Church before and had been left with a heart that didn’t want to accept Christ, or couldn’t trust enough to accept Christ, I was impressed by the car parkers, the door greeters and the free coffee 🙂
    BUT when we found our seats as the Worship Band began I knew this was a special place, for the first time in 30 years I felt comfortable in a Church, I was excited to listen to the Pastor that led this great group of people, and I wasn’t disapointed, I believe that your words that week were written for my Husband and I, the message was just what we needed to hear (it was during the Organic series) when we left the Service, I turned to my Husband and said we are coming back next week, I left, feeling at peace with my spirit for the first time in a very long time, I prayed to recieve Christ into my life a few weeks later, and both my Husband and I will be being Baptized in November, walking into C3 is an hour or so, of pure unadulterated peace, of mind body and spirit, we thank you for that Pastor Matt, you truly are a man of God, and having the privilage of praying with you, when your hand is held you can feel the holy spirit working within you, it was one of the most peaceful, and powerful things I have ever experienced!
    First Impressions of coming to North Carolina from Cambridge England, WOW they talk funny, they drive on the wrong side of the road, and it’s HOT and HUMID!!! Wheres the Chip Shop??? Dang the telly is Awful, but after 11 years I have grown to LOVE this place!!!

  • Mary Williams

    My husband and I were invited to C3 3years ago for Friend Day by a person I knew from work. We happened to get to C3 before he did and we were standing ,waiting for him and Karen Dawkins saw us and she came right over with her smile and asked if she could help us and I told her who we were waiting for,she said she did not know the person,but she pointed out the front door and said he would probably come through that door and shortly after ,our friend came. It was kind and warm of her to come over and speak. We have been coming to C3 since that friend week-end! Karen had such a bubbly personality. Thanks Karen for that smile that night and coming over to speak!

  • Mike Kelly

    Relevance. That’s what my first attraction. As a lost person, very jaded and untrusting of church in general, C3 was a ray of hope. If you take the “God” out of the lessons, they’re still excellent life lessons. Of course they’re excellent life lessons, since our Heavenly Father wrote them for us, but I didn’t know that, then. This was critically important to me as a non-believer. The lesson was simple, relevant, and easy to apply. It made God accessable to me. This was more important to me than all the nice people (which everyone of course was) and the awesome, awesome worship band.

  • Jen

    I think first impressions are just that…they are firsts. They do not last or see the ups and downs of life. They do not represent struggles or victories. They do not reveal true character…they are superficial. So my first impression of C3 is irrelevant. Although I was welcomed, smiled at and surrounded by outward expressions of worship on my first visit, what counts is not the first impression, but the ones that have followed everyday since then. And usually, they do not happen during a scheduled service or within the building. What counts, what truly counts are the quiet moments of sharing a vicotry with a new friend from connect group who remembers my name and last week’s prayer request. What matters are the tears I cry with my new girlfriends who lift me up and hold me accountable and walk through life with me everyday. What matters are the same women and the laugh-out-loud good times we have on a girls night out and how that joy reminds me of Christ and his disciples laughing in a boat on a sun reflected lake some 2000 years ago. What matters are the imperfections I get to see in people who call themselves Christians and stumble anyway. They do not excuse their fault but they do not hide it either. They are the picture of grace and an encouragement that us Christians are not a finished product. What matters are not the first impressions of my husband who is in no way inclined to raise his hands in worship or moves his lips in song, but makes strides in his walk with Christ on a daily basis. The kind of strides that make you stand up and notice that this is a man that has been with Jesus…not because he lifts his hands or prays publicly elaborate prayers, but who’s life reflects the struggle that ensues when God gets a hold or your life and ordinary and status quo no longer satisfy. What matters are not the rehearsed Sunday School answers from my middle school daughter about her faith. It is the questions she has, the doubt she confides and the understanding she seeks that draw her closer to her creator that matter. First impressions are to impress. And that is great for a church service that attracts the hurting. And I’m so honored to be a part of that at C3. But my ministry, my life, and ultimately my very being is not about creating first impressions or being “woo-ed” by them. It is about the day in and and day out of walking with Christ…getting dirty from the dust of his sandels. What matters are the small steps I take that draw me ever closer to his heartbeat; the desires of my heart that line up with his; The intimacy I share with my savior. What matters, what truly matters is the witness not by the first impression I make or witness, but by the minutes, hours, days and years that follow. What matters is what is, not what appears.

  • Sharon and Danny Underwood

    First Impression: They need parking attendents? This is BIG. While walking up to the doors we both said this sounds like a concert for a band. We were confused we are both in our 50’s now and this was loud. Once we were inside we were in awe the people were singing and the band was great. The service was funny and energy(spirit) was in every person who was in the room. Nothing was said until we left and before we got out the door we had decided to come back for the Family Series. Bought the book and plan on returning this week for 2 services so WE don’t miss a word Matt says. We have lived in this area all our lives and have attended many churchs but this is the best. No pressure no judgements just smiles, open hearts and arms. God lead us here and here we are.