SportClips and Context

I have had trouble finding a place where I can get a good hair cut. Until now…

I got my most recent haircut at SportClips and I will be going back.

There were several things that the church could learn SportClips:

Know your target audience

  • For SportClips this is men who need to get a haircut. They know who they want as customers and are able to design the entire experience around that audience.
  • For the church this might mean doing everything that you around a particular audience – most likely those who are living in the area of your church.
  • At Resurrection the target audience is built around our purpose statement – building a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Make it comfortable for them

  • For a haircut at SportClips you do not need an appointment, there is a widescreen TV in the waiting area with ESPN on. At each cutting station there is a small TV that also is showing ESPN. This comes from knowing the target audience and creating an experience that will be comfortable and enjoyable.
  • While I believe that the church should not be all about creating a comfortable experience for people, I do believe that someone who walks into the church for the first time should feel comfortable and welcomed. It should look and feel similar to the other public spaces in the neighborhood.
  • At Resurrection we try to make the experience for a first time non Christian guest as smooth as possible – greeters at the door, ushers to help find a seat, and no expectations about knowing exactly what to do in the worship service.

They will come back.

  • This was my experience at SportClips. I have tried other places where I got my haircut, but it was not an environment in which I was completely comfortable nor did I feel like it was really a place for me.
  • At church, guests should have a sense that this is a place to which they would be comfortable coming back and a feeling that there is something greater that is going on with this community and the people that are there.
  • My hope is that this happens in the worship services at Resurrection – relevant, passionate and life changing is the tag line that we have on the mugs that are given to first time guests.
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11 thoughts on “SportClips and Context

  1. Um, I was expecting a picture of the blog-worthy haircut.

    And do they cut women’s hair? Cause I really like ESPN too.

  2. Amy – Well, it has been a few weeks since I received the cut and I am planning to head in again in the next couple weeks. I’ll see about posting a picture next time. šŸ™‚ I imagine that they would cut women’s hair too. I am not sure…

    And actually, the haircut was good, but it was also the entire experience that made me want to go back.

  3. A SportClips recently opened up near us, and I’ve gone there 3 times so far. I agree, Andrew, that place is great, even for me who isn’t an avid ESPN watcher (only during football season for me). But moreover, they’ve cut my hair perfectly each time!

    Which might add to your church analogy… we can have all the flashy, cool looking, pop-culture appealing stuff, but when it comes down to it, if we can’t deliver what matters (the gospel), then what’s the point? On the other hand, if we do all that, AND deliver well, they’ll be sure to come back. I think this is seen in some of the best young churches like Newspring or Granger perhaps.

    And yes, they do cut women’s hair (at least at my location) but they say they don’t do styling. Again, they know their target and don’t apologize if you’re not it.

  4. Jason – Cool!

    Dan – That is true, If I would not have received a good cut, then I would not be back. Good analogy with the church and the gospel. However, when you are going to get your haircut you know what you are going to receive and what some of the implications might be – a new look, perhaps a different way to style one’s hair. Do you think that first time guests to a congregation know of what they are coming to be a part (a community living in a way that is primarily guided by the gospel) Well, I suppose that question would apply to first time guests and long time members…

  5. I just finished listening to podcast from Mars Hill Bible Church. http://www.marshill.org/teaching/index.php
    My Father is a Wandering Aramean – Part II – The Joybox.

    Mars Hill church meets in an old, abandoned shopping mall with little renovations and the congregation sitting on gray folding chairs. They have no debt (but I believe the mall was originally donated to this church). No plans on building or renovating their current space; instead of fancy buildings (comfortable surroundings) offerings are being used for their missions.

    I found Adam’s sermons on (simplicity) very uncomfortable sitting in a multimillion dollar financed facility. I find it a shame that in Southern Johnson County we had to provide a church that “feels similar to the other public spaces in the neighborhood” to get nominal or non-religious people comfortable enough to come and experience worshiping God … would they have possible come any way?

    Did I mention Mars Hill is larger than COR having averaged over 10,000 attendance per weekend? Is it really God’s will that we be (SO COMFORTABLE) while worshiping him?

  6. Andrew,

    I just read your post this afternoon and decided that my hair was getting long. I decided to make a trip to the Sport Clips down the street to have the experience as you did. It was fantastic.

    As I finished my haircut I considered some of your comments around how the church could be more focused on their target. It brought to my mind the book Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. He uses a character “Saddleback Sam” that was created as an imaginary person who had the characteristics of the people in the target market for the church. The character was used to build an experience that would best work for the imaginary “Saddleback Sam” and his family. This kind of research and thinking in my opinion is critical to building ministry that has the greatest impact. Trying a scattergun approach without having a clearly defined target is an approach that does not often work in business, and I have found that it doesn’t work well in ministry either. By trying to make everyone happy, you make no one happy; by trying to reach everyone with a generic approach, you may find yourself reaching no one.

  7. LDD – I think that you raise a valid point in the question of do we need to be so comfortable in worship. I think that the gospel calls us to be uncomfortable with the way that we find the world and more comfortable in working to bring about change that may align our lives and the world closer to God’s kingdom. At the same time, however, I do think that it is important for first time guests to feel like this is a place to which they would want to return. What do you think – would they have come any way?

    Travis – It was great to see you this morning and I am glad to hear that you had a good experience at Sport Clips. Thanks for brining up the target audience model introduced with Saddleback Sam. Although I have not read the book, I do think that the target audience (who is in your mission field?) is an important way of doing ministry. What do you think that this looks like at Resurrection?

  8. Andrew- Sports Clips is a great example of how you go about starting to get involved. However I would question the long term relationship there for you and your barbar. I found the smaller shops to be much better in that they remember how you like your hair cut and they too have the massage machines. They also offer some charitable opportunities to fellowship. In many ways this is how COR works in that it is easy to come for the first time but it is the small group connection for the personal relationships, spiritual enrichment and encouragement and opportunities to serve that become so important. If you want to go beyond the “Easy Hair Cut” go see John, Bruce and Buddy at the Barber shop at 119th and Strang Line Rd just off I 35.

  9. I’m just always frustrated by a hair cut costing 13 dollars. Mine is so easy – it takes like 5 minutes. Thats like 100 dollars per hour. And I’m sure the people doing the cutting are getting paid a lot less than that. I know I know overhead, etc. But come on. My favorite barber was Clay. This was back in Wilmore Kentucky during seminary. A Clay cut cost 6 dollars. And you could tell him what you wanted but it didn’t matter. It was the same cut, he practically shaved you bald and sent you out the door. But he always asked if you wanted more taken off. And you always thought – are you going to remove my scalp. I almost once said, ya take some more off, just to see what he would do. He also didn’t keep regular hours. Sometimes you would show up, and he would have a sign up that said – I’m out fishing be back tommorow. I loved that he didn’t listen, provided crappy customer service, but loved college basketball. Man I miss my 6 dollar Clay cut.

  10. Dave – You are right about Sports Clips being a great place to get started with a haircut. I have not been back, so I cannot yet comment on the memory of the stylist to remember how my hair was cut. I did get the card of the woman who cut my hair and do plan to return to the same one. So I’ll have to see on that.

    A question that your comment raises for me is this – if the experience at Sport Clips is great for a first time visit, but for repeat visits another venue may be a better experience, where should one go? Also for the church – there is a constant balance between the first time and long time guest.

    Thanks for the recommendation on the barber shop. I think that I will give Sport Clips a second round and keep your recommendation in mind for the future. Thanks!

    Chuck – I could give you a cut for $6 if that is all you need. I bought some clippers in college and cut my roommates hair for a few years. It was a good investment and I still have them around. I have yet to establish a relationship with a barber like you had with Clay – that sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

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