With a smile, of course.
I know volunteers like being inside, but church Host Teams really need to have several team members outside.
Guests come into the parking lot with all kinds of walls up. Yall know that Sunday mornings are when the enemy likes to attack. He likes to make people late, start arguments, etc. So, having calm and smiling Parking Lot Heroes outside along with greeters on the sidewalks and outside of every entrance will help to immediately start breaking down the walls of the guests so their hearts can be open to receiving what God has for them, is key.
When guests arrive, they should be led by sinage and people to direct them around the parking lot(s) and into appropriate spaces. If you have multiple parking lots, have signage indicating where additional parking is. This should not be something that adds stress.
When they get out of their car, they should encounter people along their directed and obvious way into the building by team members who can help families enter closest to the kids entrance or closest to the coffee/refreshments entrance.
Also, these sidewalk team members can help identify first time guests and get them connected with a team member inside who can take them to the places they need to go.
The flow should be like the Olympic Torch Race.
But not as long.
And not jogging.
Don't be weird.
The point is that Host Team members should relieve the stress of the guest by keeping them from guessing where they need to go.
This is also a great time for the guest to meet 2+ people (team members). This helps them feel connected and know a familiar face at this new place, making it easier for them to come back!
And, don't forget to follow up!
Probably the most important thing you can do for your guests is follow up with them.
It can also be the most awkward.
It's important to find the balance.
The percentage of 1st time guests returning to your church is small. But it's there! That's why Hospitality Ministries are so key to church growth. Getting them in the doors the first time is a good chunk of the battle, but getting them back is another big chunk. Your people have to ease the guests' burden from "the streets to the seats" (Searcy, Fusion) and then back out again. Then, after they've gone home and started their week, research says they'll share their experience at your church about 8 times.
Your circle of influence is ever widening!
Follow up is so crucial to them returning.
You can do several things:
1) Provide easy ways to get guests' information to be able to contact them: Connection Cards in or attached to the bulletin and have them put it in the offering as it is passed. Make this process as easy, accessible, and as private as possible. If it is public, it may seem threatening and you may miss the opportunity for follow up with guests.
2) The pastor sends an email/ handwritten card (whhaattt?!?!)
3) The Host Team Coordinator sends an email*/handwritten card.
4) Automated but personalized text message. These are becoming more popular but they need to be accompanied by a more personal form of contact at some point in the week!
5) Phone call from any staff member. But, know when to stop. I heard a crazy story today from my neighbors who said they visited a church one time and the church continued to call them two times a week for six months. You could say this freaked them out.
6) Home visit with baked goods - old school and so impactful. My sweet friends had this happen to them recently and they immediately felt wanted, included, accepted, and valued!
7) Comment with other ideas!
* Emails ideas: "5 Reasons You Should Come Back on Sunday!"; "Meet the Pastor", Guest Experience Survey
When you talk to them:
1)Give them ONE CLEAR next step.
(a) meet you at the Connections/Welcome desk and ask for you.
(b) Invite them to come to a class that talks about how to get connected and how to become a member.
2) After, you can also mention other church-wide events coming up (ladies night, men's night, church at the park night, etc).
3) If they came with a friend, follow up with the friend.
4) Invite them to a meet and greet with the pastor after the service and give them a certain room.
5) Ask if you can pray with them over the phone.
6) Comment with other ideas!
People yearn for community, yet there's a volunteer crisis in churches.
I think that is so interesting.
Hospitality Ministries are not the most important aspect of a church, but I would argue they're right up there. They are the frontline of discipleship and they Gospel people all day long.
But, it's not a committee-thing. It's a church-culture thing.
It has to be something that everyone in the church practices, whether they feel they have the "gift" of hospitality or not. It's just like missions: We're not all called to be overseas missionaries, but we're all called to missions.
We're not all called to be official greeters but we are all called to greet and welcome strangers. The Bible says that we were once strangers, so we must not mistreat a stranger (Exodus 22:21). Not that church-goers are out there mistreating all the people, but as people come into the church, we are to attend well to the souls God has put in our path - obviously, that goes for outside of the church walls.
When someone you look up to comes to you and sees something in you and helps you cultivate a gift, that is life changing, yall! That's the whole reason I'm even doing this - a leader in my church saw a gift for Hospitality in me and gave me a chance at being Hospitality Coordinator. LIFE CHANGING and LIFE GIVING! An act as simple as that made me want to stick to and serve for my church family. Then, someone mentored/discipled me in all the ways of Church Hospitality.
Church leaders must seek out other lay leaders in the church who already have a heart for hospitality. Those leaders must mentor/disciple them and equip them to help them lead other volunteers well. Those mentored lay leaders, should then, seek out others to join their Host Team, identify team leaders, and volunteers. Those Team Leaders need to be trained, mentored, and equipped well.
The mentorship process has to be an active one. Allow them to have experiences in leadership. Help them learn and grow. The Barna Group refers to it as "reverse mentorship". It's one of the main things that young adults want in a church. Being intentional with this will increase recruitment and retention of your volunteers. It can also decrease the perception of church staff cliques (it's a thing). If church staff is constantly looking to mentor/disciple others and encouraging their mentees to do the same, people feel included. Katie Beasley true!!!! Totally agree!!! I believe most church leaders mean well, but they haven't been properly mentored either. And it can show in how they relate to volunteers.
Also, budget cuts.
I totally understand churches do more with less but I think mentorship is a free way to invest and get a huge return!How you do varies from church to church.
I'd love to come alongside and help your church do that!
Celebrating Father's Day & our Anniversary!
Thankful for my daddy who has honored and loved my mom through some of the craziest and greatest times. My daddy, who invented the Father-Daughter dates, taught me what my standard for men should be-that men should pursue, treasure, and love women as Christ's loves. Thankful for my husband who has and continues to do just that. Thankful that he is such a fun and amazing father to our Brody and partner in parenting. Thankful for these strong men in my life who always find reasons to laugh, who stand for and on Truth, who's legacy is love, who fights for their family and for others' families. I love today, that we celebrate amazing men like mine and others! But, this world needs more strong Jesus-loving men! We should always be celebrating and building up these men in our lives. We should raise men like them. We have to encourage them and pray against the lies and temptations of the enemy on their behalf-even when things seem fine. We have to talk well about them to others- speak life and not death over them. We have to forgive and have grace for them. We have to not accept mediocrity for or from them. We have to love them as our brothers in Christ.
For the sake of our families, communities, society, and future generations.
And because they're super cute!!
Passionate about Jesus and people, I've added this blog to communicate strategy and thoughts about Biblical Hospitality and The Church as a movement, rather than just people in a building once a week. It seems like everyone is blogging these days, (which is awesome!) and I know that there are always better and more insightful thoughts, but God is leading this so I'm just writing in obedience.