What colonoscopies can teach us about hospitality

I have never had a colonoscopy but I hear they are not something that many people look forward to undergoing. Maybe this is why we may not look to colonoscopies when thinking about hospitality, but the now infamous 1996 study might make us rethink our assumption. 

Quickly from the wikipedia entry, here is the study:

Colonoscopy patients were randomly divided into two groups. One underwent a colonoscopy procedure wherein the scope was left in for three extra minutes, but not moved, creating a sensation that was uncomfortable, but not painful. The other group underwent a typical colonoscopy procedure. Kahneman et al. found that, when asked to retrospectively evaluate their experiences, patients who underwent the longer procedure rated their experience as less unpleasant than patients who underwent the typical procedure. Moreover, the patients in the prolonged discomfort group were far more likely to return for subsequent procedures because a less painful end led them to evaluate the procedure more positively than those who faced a shorter procedure.

This is one example to show how it is the endings of an event that impact the way we remember the event. If the ending was bad, the remembered event was bad. If the ending was good, the remembered event was good. 

In the Church there is a lot of emphasis on the first impression we make to guests. This is why we try to have well kept landscaping and facilities, clearly marked parking and signage, greeters at the door, free coffee and doughnuts, a "glad you were with us for the first time" gift, etc. While these first impressions matter, so does the last impression.

To my preacher friends, I would submit that all the work that is done to find the "right opening hook" to a sermon, perhaps we need to spend time on the "right ending". It may very well shape what is remembered.