Meet, Greet & Keep Your Guest
I think we can all agree it's the little things in life that can make a great impact- the kind word of encouragement, the strong arm to balance, the glass of water offered- the anticipation of people's needs! When we're intentional to consider other people's needs and emotions and we put them ahead of ourselves and our programming, it will leave a lasting impression!
This should be how we train our teams, to anticipate or even put themselves in the shoes of the guest! We've all been the guest at one point or another, so taking a moment to remember the awkwardness, confusion and possibly even fear of that first time, can inspire the kindness and consideration to act in empathy! The team is KEY, the people who are on the frontlines can make or break the experience and because of that, it is essential that they catch the vision and act in excellence always! The beautiful byproduct of this team operating successfully is eventually their care & consideration will catch on and other members who aren't necessarily on the "team" will begin "acting" in empathy until one day it's become the culture of the church!
A spark that starts with a small team of people, who are acting with intention, can ignite an entire faith community to live out true hospitality!
So where do you start? Below are three steps that you can begin to set up in your organization right away. They are general ideas that leave room for you to put your own spin or style on the system!
1. Assimilate & Equip a team of people who are like minded with the common goal of going above and beyond to make people feel welcome, a sense of belonging and informed. These people should be…
Attentive & thinking ahead to how they can make the guest feel welcome (ex. I see you came today with your family, that’s wonderful, we offer a children’s service that runs at the same time as our adult service, let me introduce you to ___ who can show you where to register your kids.”
Don’t wait for the people to come to you, be observant, put yourself in their shoes, be up and moving-ready to speak, show or direct when needed, with hands free!
Be knowledgeable! When you receive updates on what’s happening at the church try and remember the details to offer to those who are interested and if you don’t know find someone who does!
Our goal is to show the love of Jesus in a genuine conversational way- be real but be ready with some conversation starters if making small talk is hard for you. It’s all about relationship- we want the guest leaving with a warm sense of being known!
Be considerate of the role you play on a Sunday morning! If you’re at the front doors greeting- stay put keep your greeting short but friendly and move them on to the foyer greeters- these individuals then will be picking up on the new faces looking around trying to get their bearings, they are the ones who will initiate conversation and meet the practical needs. If you’re at the sanctuary doors, stay put – offer genuine friendly greetings and small talk when applicable! If you’re on welcome center- be sure to be informed! People will be coming to you for the information, so make sure you are able to answer questions about the church, about programming, giving and so on! If you don’t know, find someone who does and try to retain that information for next time!
Even if you’re not scheduled to be a “Greeter” on a Sunday morning – it’s still our job to foster community! Always be on- be real - be conversational - and listen!
2. Follow Up - Our purpose is to move people along the process of being assimilated into the church, growing in their faith, committing to membership & volunteering, and then being sent out into the community. Structure & intentionality are absolute in this process!
Establish intentional guest follow-up communication / TEXT IN CHURCH (amazing communication resource! The open rate of text message is 97% so messages are being READ! And things are being communicated!) Frequency – Duration - Media / 1-2 times a week for 6 weeks through different media platforms (ex. Text, email, hand written note, social media, phone call, gift at the door) also this does not have to be done all by the same person ie. the senior pastor.
A quarterly Pizza or Pasta with the Pastors- where guests are cordially invited to take part in a meal and a get to know you session with the pastors and leadership team! This is meant to be light hearted, conversational- fun almost- a way to see the human side of the leadership!
Establish a purposeful course of action to get newcomers assimilated into the body of the church. For example, a "Next Steps" or "Growth Track" kinda class structure with the intent of developing their leadership and ministry potential! An example of this could be…
Step 1- A class with the purpose of introducing people to the beliefs & vision of your church as well as the basic foundations of the Christian Faith.
Step 2- This could be a class focused on spiritual health. Finding freedom and identity in Jesus Christ.
Step 3- This would be a class focusing on discovering their spiritual ministry gifts and finding where they can use those gifts to serve within the body of Christ.
Step 4- This class would focus on empowering leaders. Focusing on building leadership characteristics and maximizing their potential.
3. Plug Them In! We want to get our people serving, but, we want them serving in areas where they are gifted, where they’re passionate and motivated to serve the body & ultimately Jesus Christ!
This is where getting newcomers to participate in the Step 3 of the "Next Steps" process is key! The hope is that once their ministry gifts and passions are revealed it will be a natural next step to hand over their name to the appropriate ministry head.
Once that ministry head receives notice of the new volunteer, they make contact within 1 week, to start the ball rolling, and get them plugged in, trained and so on! This step is CRITICAL- if too much time lapses between the finishing of the course and getting them plugged in as a volunteer you could potentially lose their interest and miss out on a fantastic volunteer. People want to be asked, it’s our nature, so again this is a critical step in the process of getting people assimilated into volunteering!
You should always keep an eye out for those individuals who have leadership potential! You want to reproduce, not only with your adults but with your kids and teens as well! Once they’ve completed the Step 4 course- find leadership roles in which they can assert their giftings. That could be head over coffee ministry, leading a small group, providing administrative duties for a larger ministry, and the list goes on and on!
Delegation, trust and release of control are really critical at this stage for the pastoral team, but generally speaking if an individual is truly showing leadership potential and then given the ability to flex that muscle, with some independence, they will rise to the occasion and lighten the load of the staff!
These steps and suggestions are simple enough to plug into any organization! When you have a system in place that you are following consistently it not only sets you up for success but it ultimately sets that newcomer on a growth track to deepen their relationship with Christ, to better their understanding of themselves & grow in leadership skills, becoming a powerful tool in the hand of God! That is our ultimate mission as a church, to make disciples!
If you'd like more information on how to become more effective in growth strategies and communication I'd be happy to have a conversation with you! Click here to contact me and start moving in the direction of intention!