The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

July 11, 2013

First Impressions

By Doug Creamer

Thursday, July 11, 2013 — If you have been reading my column for any length of time you know that I love to work in my yard. I love to work with my wife and put in some flowers which we both enjoy as they grow and bloom. I also enjoy growing vegetables and then eating them. I picked my first tomato last night … hope he has some friends real soon. The corn is looking good. I’ve been enjoying some blueberries because I have them covered with netting. I’ve learned to cook squash and eggplant on the grill; oh boy, is that good.

I am still waiting on the melons. I planted them late so I may buy a couple before I get to enjoy some from my own yard. My potatoes were up and looking good, but then they drowned in all the rain we have been getting. My sweet potatoes were starting to run and the deer hadn’t paid them a visit, so I was excited to have a good start with them. The other morning I discovered that rabbits like sweet potato vines, too. I invited my neighbor to send his cat over for a visit.

I have some fall beans planted and am hoping I will get some other things in as some of the early vegetables finish up. It is unusual for us to have so much rain, so gardening of all types has been a different challenge this year. The weeds seem to be having an especially a good year.

One of my challenges this year has been at church. Since I enjoy planting flowers and vegetables I have been asked to take care of the flower bed in front of our church sign. Last year I had to stop by and water it quite often. This year I think the flowers didn’t do well because there hasn’t been enough sunshine.

They looked so pitiful that I decided I needed to replace what I put out this spring with some bigger and fresher looking plants. When I got done I thought the pine needles needed to be freshened up too.

I wanted to do the work around our sign because I know that first impressions are very important. I want people to see the sign and feel welcomed and think that we take care of things at our church. If you come to our church you will be greeted numerous times between our front door and the sanctuary. Our greeters are the best at making each person, whether members or visitors, feel like they are special and welcome in our church.

Many churches neglect this vital ministry. I’ve visited some churches and had no one speak to me. That won’t happen at my church. Greeting and welcoming people is part of that first impression people get from your church. The first impression on someone can determine whether they will come back again. For those who are lost, that first impression may determine whether they will make a commitment to Christ.

I think it is important to understand that our first impression goes beyond our churches to our own personal lives. We make impressions on people in our everyday lives. People decide if they want to become Christians based on what they experience when they meet you and me. I know we all miss the mark on this at times, but we have to become conscious of the way we act and the impression we leave on others.

My students who wait tables tell me that they don’t like to work on Sunday afternoons. When I ask why they always tell me because of the way church folks treat them. They tell me that church folks are rude and they don’t tip. That is a powerful impression to leave on young people. We carry Christ everywhere we go so we need to think about the impression we are leaving on people. We want that impression to be infectious and inviting so we can win the lost to Christ. God loves each one of us so we need to show the love of God to others and give them a positive impression of Christians.

I want to encourage you to carefully consider the first impression you are making on others. While it is vitally important to make a good impression at church, it is also important what kind of impression you leave with others in your daily life. We want to represent Christ well and leave a positive impression on those we meet. A beautiful flower is a welcoming sight; let’s hope our lives reflect such a positive impression.


Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is at Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email