The 4-Point Email: Sharing Best Practices with Your Team

Excellent guest service – whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry – is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.

Best practices can be produced in a board room.

  • Respond to questions within 48 hours.
  • Answer the phone before the fourth ring.
  • Do what you do with excellence.

It can happen: best practices can come from the board room. But not most of them.

Most best practices come about in the moment. A one-time occurrence implemented by one team member that gets discovered and, because of its impact on communicating value, is repeated as a norm throughout the entire team. That’s what happened with our guest services four-point report .

A couple years ago our volunteer usher leaders began to email each other following each weekend of services. By Monday afternoon an email was circulating, celebrating highlights and asking questions about how to solve a challenge that had popped up. The email created conversation that birthed an ongoing best-practice-making machine. The Four-Point Email was born. It’s this simple:

  •  Share a highlight from the weekend.
    • Anything positive counts.
    • A story about a guest interaction.
    • A high point from the service itself.
    • A nugget from a team member.
  •  Tell about a challenge the team encountered and how it was solved (if one existed at all).
    • crying baby in the middle of the service.
    • The need for more wheel chairs than we had on hand.
    • An overcrowded room with standing room only.
  •  Tell about a challenge the team encountered that you still need help with.
    • You dealt with it as best you could, but ultimately you know a long-term solution is still needed.
    • Not enough handicap seating.
    • Confusing signage.
    • Lack of information about an event or ministry.
  •  Finally, share the name of an up-and-coming leader.
    • We’ll all pray—for that person and for the leaders who will be pouring into him/her.
    • This person may not be named an apprentice yet, but we all have our eyes open and our mentoring radar on.

This four-point email keeps the communication going well past the weekend. Weekend teams are not isolated; they are united. Unique approaches are not limited to any one leader; they are sharedBest practices are not protected by a team; they are celebrated and practiced by the entire ministry. 

How are you establishing and implementing best practices?

(Revised excerpt from How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Ways to Make a Meaningful First Impression, Best Practice #94, pages 131-132)

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Mark Waltz

Mark has spent the past 25 years serving and leading people. While many of those years were focused within the local church, he brings marketplace experience from retail management, as well as career development and training. Regardless of his work or ministry context, he is about investing in people, because he believes people really matter. Think of him as a "people advocate." A sought after consultant and trainer, Mark has helped local churches of all sizes improve their guest services experience. Today Mark serves as executive pastor at Granger Community Church where for the past fourteen years he has been a unifying force, overseeing adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. As Granger’s chief guest services practitioner he still inspires teams of volunteers who make Granger Community Church a relaxed, rejuvenating and relevant experience for members and guests. Mark also oversees Granger’s multisite campuses.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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