The Significance Behind Recruiting One More Volunteer

On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs. You can listen to the whole conversation here.

Without that backup volunteer in place, conversations that change everything are hard to have. To stop and talk means that a welcoming task will likely not be done. Gospel opportunities exist on your church campus every weekend, but your hospitality team may not be ready to recognize and respond to them. As the leader, it is up to you to recruit that “one more” volunteer to help provide the warmest welcome possible. Here are five holes in your hospitality to fill asap.

This weekend, put someone else…

…on the sidewalk.  The gap between your front doors and your guest parking spaces can feel like a long walk to the first time guest. Playing zone in your hospitality means that someone minds that gap, ready to receive a warm handoff from your parking lot team and walk alongside your guests into the front doors. Do you have anyone smiling on the sidewalk?

…in the parking lot.   The parking lot typically contains the most transactional hospitality moments every weekend. Everyone wearing a vest will necessarily be correctly positioned and focused, to keep every car moving and every pedestrian safe. Do you have anyone else out there who can engage in a relational moment if needed?

…at the back doors.  The invitation to return next Sunday may be more critical than the welcome this Sunday. It is easy to think of hospitality as merely a “before the service” need. However, the questions a first-time guest might have after worship could be much more important than those they have prior. Do you have people at the doors as everyone exits the service?

…in front of a counter.   The worst place for a hospitality leader is behind a desk. It is too easy to hide behind a table, to carry on a conversation with another volunteer behind a counter, and to forget that their first priority is to serve the guest. Do you have anyone positioned out in front of the counter, focused and poised to help?

…in the church office.  The office phone rings all week, and there is typically an operator or receptionist ready to give a warm welcome and connect callers to the appropriate extension. But on Sunday mornings, callers are likely looking for information or maybe even just reaching out for help. Do you have someone answering the phones on Sundays or will callers get an impersonal recording?

Auxano’s Guest Experience Navigator, Bob Adams, and I are hosting another great year of two-day Boot Camp workshops designed to help you improve your welcome each weekend. Most important, it’s not just about more information, you will leave with training and a plan! Find out more about bringing your team of five to this immersive experience here.
> Read more from Bryan.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Breakthrough Guest Experience Ideas with Danny Franks

On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs. You can listen to the whole conversation here.

Here are some key breakthrough ideas with Danny:

  • When God says “I am doing something…” words begin to create worlds.
  • Learn why nobody wants to give their life away to show up and help somebody find a parking space.
  • Why serving on a hospitality team is a lot of fun for about three weeks but becomes a lousy hobby if there is no substance.
  • If all we are calling people to do is show up to check off a box, they will only be excited for a short time. Train for this instead.
  • How vital is a welcoming ministry in a church where there is so much emphasis on the gospel and missions?
  • Is a First Impressions ministry essential? Answering this question with the Gospel is critical, here’s why.
  • Could it be that there roles in the church that we are presenting as family chores? Serving should never feel like taking out the garbage.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to offend people and make them uncomfortable when you see with first-time guest eyes.
  • We can do everything possible to make 60-75 minutes inside the worship service flawless, but if we are not thinking through what somebody sees first, it may not matter.
  • Do we need to ask – what do they see first?
  • Make sure that the messages from the stage hold up to the messages on the sidewalk.
  • The gospel is offensive but nothing else should be, especially your welcome.
  • Guests far from God may disagree with points of your sermon, but they cannot argue with the love of your people.
  • There are all kinds of offenses on a Sunday that we can fix… the gospel is one offense we shouldn’t try to fix.
  • If we make it feel like we love people, we planned for them, and we cannot wait for them to come back, people hostile to the gospel will eventually take hold.
  • Helping people understand the purpose behind needed changes is critical to keeping volunteer hearts engaged.
  • The why behind The Summit’s hospitality begins and ends with the gospel.
  • The big win of the weekend is that everyone hears the gospel communicated.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The gospel is offensive, nothing else should be
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The why is more important than the what.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Everything speaks.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The first visit should set up the second visit
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Make it personal – every weekend is someone’s first weekend, meet people where they are
  • The why has to be more caught than taught. People should understand what matters most beyond just hearing words at a training meeting.
  • Leaders must be present and in conversation to ensure that culture is stewarded well from campus to campus.
  • Stories are the most significant indicator of cultural health.
  • Asking guests about their experience is a way to hear from guests and listen for systemic issues in your hospitality experience.
  • The first time guest experience is a health indicator for the entire church.
  • Stats don’t grab people’s hearts the way stories do… tell stories to motivate and to cultivate the results you want to see.
  • Gospel discipleship in every ministry means that people can move from parking cars to planting churches.
  • The majority of guest services conversations are transactional, but are your people available to connect beyond the welcome and into the relational?
  • The bare minimum number of volunteers result in the bare minimum number of gospel experiences.
  • You always need more volunteers – more people engaged in the mission creates more opportunities to engage people.
  • There has to be a passion for the guest experience… your volunteers need to see welcoming people as more than just family chores.
  • Nobody dreams of being a guest services pastor, but the reality is that Biblical hospitality is a critical component of following Jesus.
  • Guest Services are a biblical virtue expressed on an organizational level.
  • Essential Qualities of a Great Hospitality Leader: People person, Attention to detail, Dreamer not afraid to take measured risks
  • We don’t always need to learn something new; we need to revisit the truth over and over again.
  • Leaders sharpen their tools by reading – and not just leadership books.
  • You can engineer EPIC moments to engage First Time Guests.
  • Relax… let go of the perfect plan and the ideal event. Outside of salvation, there are very few things in ministry that are as life and death as we think they are.
  • We can sacrifice people on the altar of our idol the plan.
  • We are not here for the plans we are here for the people.

Listen to the whole podcast here.

If you want to learn how to create an exceptional Guest Experience at your church, check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming up January 29-30 in Newport Beach, CA

Click here for more information and registration.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Signs of a Toxic Guest Culture

Poison is a funny thing.

We’re not talking about the late 80’s hair band, here, although they were very funny. (Some would say those guys were nothin’ but a good time.)

No, I mean funny more in an odd sense because – though poison is deadly – it’s often unnoticeable until it’s too late. It can be tasteless, odorless, and seemingly harmless. And then…bam. You’re gone.

Poison can wreak havoc on biological systems, but it also can kill cultural systems. Take your guest services culture, for example. Apply the poison of a toxic greeter, and the deadly effects will soon spread throughout the attitude and actions of every volunteer. Tap into the toxicity of an unhealthy approach – for example, not having a plan for serving guests – and soon your church growth and health will stagnate, decline, and die.

So how can you spot a toxic guest services culture? Like poison, it’s often unnoticeable until it’s too late. But there are three attitudes that might indicate toxicity amidst your team:

1. Having a guest services plan is a necessary evil.

We’d never say that. Nobody in their right mind would formulate those words and force them off of our tongues. Of course we want guests in our churches. No guests mean no growth. But in the way we plan for, resource, and maintain our guest services culture may very well reflect our core belief that this is more trouble than it’s worth. Caring for guests interrupts the status quo, because suddenly it’s not about us and what makes us comfortable. And while the above statement may never be articulated, it’s assumed by heavy sighs and eye rolls every time you bring up the need for a plan.

2. “We’ll do whatever it takes to bring ’em in.”

I refer to this as the “shock and awe” plan. We want guests to like us enough that they want to come back a second time, so we pull out all the stops when they show up the first time. We go way beyond inviting environments and assault the senses with a sense of desperation. Our all-encompassing goal is to get first-timers to take notice of our church, yet we fail to help them take notice of Jesus. And by the way…this is often an accusation lobbed at megachurches, but small churches can overdo it, too. It feels a little like the single male seminary student who uses the “God told me to marry you” line…it’s too much, too soon, and it’s off-putting.

3. We don’t need a team, because we’re already friendly.

I’ve been in a lot of churches, and I’ve yet to find one that’s not friendly. A quick five minute glance around the sanctuary or Sunday School room reveals people who are freely trading hugs and high fives, catching up on the news of the week, and even praying for each other’s needs. But there’s the rub…most church people are friendly to each other…to those we already know. It takes a great deal of intentionality to move beyond friendly to each other in order to be friendly to “others.” And if that intentionality isn’t intentionally installed, it’ll cause the culture of welcoming guests to shrivel up and die.

> Read more from Danny.


Learn more about the danger of a toxic Guest Experience – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Change Your Guest Culture – Fast!

You don’t need to lay out a five year plan. You don’t need to bring in an outside consultant. You don’t need to invest in expensive training, read a mountain of books, or hire a ringer from another church staff to up your guest services game.

There’s one solution that will bring about change starting next weekend. One solution that will allow you to see many of the things that you would otherwise pay a “professional” to spot:

Invite a friend.

It’s really that simple. If you have an unchurched friend that you’ve been investing in, praying for, and hoping against hope that she would come to faith in Christ, just invite her to come with you to a weekend service. Suddenly, everything that a guest sees…you will see. It will all come into crystal-clear focus. You’ll take notice of whether others take notice of her. You’ll witness every awkward encounter. You’ll hear every clumsy transition. You’ll see every fleck of peeling paint, every piece of trash on the bathroom floor, and every smudge on the lobby windows.

There’s something about inviting our guests that makes us take notice of all the guests. When our friends show up, things get personal. Priorities get realigned. Items that were once a “good idea one day when we can get around to it” suddenly move up the chain to be of utmost importance.

Don’t get me wrong: you’ll still need a plan of attack, you might want to consider an outside consultant, and you may want to pick up a few books. But getting a jumpstart is as simple as sending a text:

“Hey, want to come with me to church this weekend?”

> Read more from Danny.

> Learn more about Danny’s book, People Are The Mission.


Learn more about the power of connecting with your Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp in Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Welcome All Your Guests, But Focus on the One

As guest services practitioners, it’s time for us to admit something.

The ministry of serving guests is relatively easy, in the grand scheme of things: design a system. Invite volunteers to serve in the system. Execute the system week after week. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I say that it’s easy because, after all, we are ministering to the masses. Blocks of people move through our pre-engineered process. They go from point A to point B, guided by our unseen hands as we help take them from a place of connection to a place of commitment.

Creating an inviting environment for guests is pretty simple, because guests plural are nameless, faceless entities.

But what if this weekend – rather than saying we’re here to serve our guests – we looked for a particular guest to serve?

What if we moved past the many to see the one?

What if we set aside our systems and struck up a friendship?

What if we stopped making assumptions about what our guests want and stop to discover what one person needs?

What if we breathed a silent prayer as we walk down a sidewalk or make our way through the lobby, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the one person he’s putting in our path?

What if we asked the question, “Who am specifically serving today? Right now? In this moment?”

 

So…who are you here for?

> Read more from Danny.


 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Getting Ready for Fall: 7 Steps to Success

Yes, it’s currently blazing hot in most parts of the country. But fall will be here before we know it, and with cooler weather comes an attendance surge for most churches. Families are returning from vacation, people are getting back into routines, and church parking lots and pews are fuller than they were during summer. At our church, we typically see a 30-35% attendance bump from the end of July to mid-August (there was one year that it hit 52%!).

So how can you take advantage of the next few weeks in order to be prepared for the influx of guests? Here are seven ways:

Refresh your volunteer training. 

Go back to the basics with your current vols. Remind them why your team exists. Whether you’re meeting with them in person or sending out text / email updates, spend a few minutes over the next few weekends helping them get their heads back in the game. [Related post: Need an Inexpensive Option for Team Training?]

 

Invite new people to serve. 

New guests mean new opportunities for your members to step up their game. Invite all of your current vols to shoulder-tap their friends. If your attendance numbers bump by 1/3 like ours, make it a personal goal to bump your volunteer numbers by the same. [Related post: 20 Ways to Get More Volunteers]

 

Review your systems. 

Sure, you remember last Easter or fall when a lot of people showed up and you had to seat them in the lobby or park them at the business down the street. But now, how will you prepare based on what you know? Now is the time to pull out the playbook and talk to your team about what will happen when (not if) additional space is required (and please, let’s not call it overflow. That’s what toilets do.) [Related post:10 Ways to Make Your Seating Team More Effective]

 

Practice your language.

How will you greet your guests when they arrive? Sure, you may cover this with your volunteers…but what about the people on stage? How will your worship leader encourage people to scoot in once worship has already started? How will your lead pastor greet the throngs, acknowledge the bump, and invite them back? How will your announcement guy give practical next steps? [Related post: Six Times to Talk to Your Guests]

 

Check your supplies. 

Do you have enough first time guest gifts? Worship guides? Information cards? Communion cups? Now is the time to order them. [Related post: First Time Guest Bags: An Intro]

 

Clean it up.

Don’t neglect your facility or your parking lot. Take a minute to walk around this week and spot what needs to be fixed or freshened up: remove those VBS posters. Weed that flower bed. Windex that lobby door. [Related post: Pick Up Your Junk]

 

Pray. 

This isn’t the last resort, but the first. If we believe for a moment that the guest experience rises and falls on a clean facility and well-trained volunteers, we deceive ourselves. No, we must pray for the Holy Spirit to compel people to come, to open their eyes to the gospel, and to woo them into a relationship with Jesus. [Related post: Is Your Guest Service Team in a State of Desperation?]

> Read more from Danny.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

See more articles by >

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Questions We Need to Think About When We’re Thinking About the Weekend

It’s pretty easy for us to think about what we think about when we think about the weekend experience at our churches (feel free to re-read that sentence. I won’t be offended.).

After all, they’re our experiences. We gather together on a regular basis. We catch up with our long-time friends. We walk through the same old doors, sit in the same old seats, and – for the most part – experience a familiar, somewhat predictable, unsurprising service.

Not so with our first time guests. Whereas we’re seeing it for the 500th time, they’re seeing it for the first. If we’re old pros, they’re rookies. And so, while it can be difficult to look at the weekend through the eyes of a guest, it’s necessary. Here are six questions we can think about when we’re thinking about the weekend:

Do guests know when we meet? Are service times posted clearly on the website? Are the times on the church marquee out by the road still accurate?

Do guests know where we meet? Do all online mapping services lead to your gathering spot? If you’re mobile, is their GPS unit taking them to the weekend worship service, or to your rented weekday office space?

Do guests know what to do when they show up? Is signage clear? Where do they park? How do they get into the building? Where do they drop off their kids? Do you even have something for their kids?

Do guests know what to do when they get inside? Can they sit just anywhere? Are there sections or seats that are off limits? Are all parts of the service for them, or are some things restricted? If they want or need more information, who should they ask?

Do guests know that people care about them? Is it obvious that you’ve planned the weekend with them in mind? Do you have a way for them to self-identify? Have you made sure the facility is clean? Are your people actually talking to strangers they don’t know?

Do guests know what’s next? Have you answered the “So what?” and “Now what?” questions? Are their resources to help them go further in their journey? Is there an event or a place they can go to find out more?

Every weekend is somebody’s first weekend. And chances are better than average that you’re going to have a few outsiders trying to get inside this Sunday. How will they view their experience?

> Read more from Danny.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

See more articles by >

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Every Weekend Matters: 6 Strategies for Holiday Hospitality

We’re barely ankle deep into the summer season around these parts. The mountains and beaches are calling, and people are responding. (Side note: mountain people? I love you. Let’s hang out more. Beach people? I pray for you. And for your sunburned, dehydrated, squinty, sweaty, sand-covered bodies. Maybe we can be better friends at heaven where there’s no more beach.)

But I digress. If you’re in charge of the hospitality or guest services team at your church, chances are good that you are already feeling the pinch of summer. Whether your volunteers have fled to high ground or sandy shores or Disney or Great Wolf Lodge, you’re worried that there won’t be adequate coverage to make it to September. The only problem is that while your volunteers may take some down time, your guests won’t. Their version of down time will likely be checking out your church for the first time.

So how do you balance the drought of vols with the influx of guests? Here are six strategies to cope:

1. Refuse to relax your standards. The easiest thing to do is to clock out of excellence for the summer. Drop a team here. Do without a volunteer there. However, that leaves your guests with a less-than-ideal experience. While your overall team numbers might be down, your campus coverage shouldn’t be. As you start the summer season, continue to think from the perspective of your guests and fight for their comfort. Related posts: Four Ways to Stay Alert. Why Outside Greeters Are More Important Than Inside Greeters.

2. Get on your vols’ schedule. True, there are some people who decide to head out for a weekend getaway at the very last minute. But for the majority of people on your team, they’ve had vacation on their schedules for months. That makes it easy for them to get their vacation on your schedule, as well. Shoot a quick email to your team and ask them to let you know the weekends they’ll be out of town. That quick memory jog will keep you from a lot of surprises later this summer.

3. Go after your one-offs. Summer is a great time to ask people to serve who normally don’t. Ask people to fill in for a couple of weekends with no pressure to do anything else. Give them an easy win – mixed with low commitment – and watch the gaps get filled in. (And who knows? You might just end up with a new vol who didn’t know how much they loved serving others.)

4. Make it a team effort. Go after your Sunday School classes and small groups and encourage them to take one Sunday out of class to serve as a team. This can be a healthy break in their normal routine and help them have an others-focus.

5. Help them beat the heat. For those who are serving, keep in mind the uncomfortable conditions they’ll endure. Send reminders to your outdoor people to bring caps and sunglasses. Provide water, Gatorade, and sunscreen. Surprise them at summer’s end with a visit from the ice cream truck. Rotate them often so they’re not in the elements too long.

6. Send them off with a smile. Do not. I repeat: do not make your vols feel guilty for taking a break. In fact, you should make sure that everyone has at least a couple of weekends off during the summer, even if they’re not traveling anywhere. We don’t do our teams any favors when we lord over them like taskmasters. Rather, push them to enjoy some Sabbath time. That’ll pay off in long-term loyalty.

Read more from Danny.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
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How to Raise the Guest Awareness of Your Congregation

Every church in America has a guest problem. They may have a huge number of guests showing up each week (a great problem). They may not have had any guests in months (an awful problem). But if the “regulars” in the church aren’t aware that guests are among ’em, that’s the biggest problem of all.

Here’s why: in either case (lots of guests or none at all), regulars need to be regularly reminded that the weekend isn’t all about them. In a lots-of-guests church, that will create an environment of openness and welcome (think “no more territorial rights in pews”). In a little-if-any guests church, that’ll breed an expectation that guests should be there. And according to the greatest theological movie of 1989, if you build it, they will come. 

So here they are: ten practical ways to raise the Guest Awareness Culture on the weekend. (None of these are new or world-changing, by the way. I’ve mentioned most of them on other parts of this blog many times over, and you can click the links to read more. But hey: who doesn’t love a list?)

1. Develop a First Impressions TeamIt seems simple enough, but far too many churches don’t have one. And before ye protest, four guys in matching ties handing out bulletins at the door does is not a First Impressions Team. You need a robust crew of people who are responsible for everything from the parking lot to the pew (or if you don’t have pews, from the street to the seat).

2. Remember that the sermon starts in the parking lotThink outside in when it comes to developing your team. Since people decide whether or not they’ll return to your church within the first ten minutes, it makes sense that you’d do whatever it takes to make the first of those ten minutes the most welcoming. Put plenty of people – at least 40% of your team – on the outside of the doors.

3. Reserve the best spots for your first time guestsYep, I’m talking designated parking. With clear signage. Up front. Obnoxiously close and convenient. Way closer than the pastor or the bishop parks. And speaking of…your staff, volunteers, and other leadership should make a habit of parking farthest away.

4. Have a tent. Forget about your Welcome Center that’s inside the building, past the lobby, down the hallway, take two lefts and a right, and maybe you’ll find it. Nope, but a big obnoxious clearly marked tent right in front of your big obnoxious clearly marked “reserved for first time guests” parking lot. Having a safe place that guests can stop by before they enter will reduce their anxiety and make them feel like they know what’s about to happen.

5. Have a tellFigure out a way to identify your guests. And no, that’s not by making them stand up in the service or slapping a name tag on them that says “guest” in red letters (kid you not, a friend tweeted me that experience as I was writing this post). We use a basic gift bag with our church’s logo on it. It’s not a gift as much as it is a way to pay special attention to those experiencing their first weekend.

6. Talk to ’emFrom the stage. Every week. Multiple times. Again, that’s not singling them out for embarrassment, but acknowledging that guests are present. Talk to your guests so much that your regulars are sick of hearing your spiel, and that’ll be just about the time that the light bulb will come on and they’ll realize…by golly…guests are present.

7. Create a newcomers eventWhether that’s a meet-and-greet after every service or a full fledged monthly meal and class, do something to help guests take a next step. And talk about that from the stage every week, too.

8. Clean up your junkYou’ve long since forgotten about the layer of dust on the communion table or the smudges on the front door’s glass. But your guests haven’t. Prepare for them every week by keeping your facility in top shape.

9. Encourage volunteers to “attend one, serve one.” Here’s the problem with point #1 above: a First Impressions Team does little good if they disperse four minutes after the service begins. If you have multiple services, ask vols to fully worship in one, and fully engage / serve in another. And if you don’t have multiple service, that’s the best reason I know of to add one.

10. Pray for them. Pray that God sends them. Pray that the ones God sends, he will save. Pray that you’ll be proactive in treating them well and inviting them back. Pray that you’ll simply be friendly. The things that you keep before God’s throne, he’ll keep on your heart.

That’s my ten. It’s not exhaustive, by any means. What would you add?

> Read more from Danny.


 

Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.


 

Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp in Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 
comment_post_ID); ?> good article. Where I would take exception in the seeming negativity to plant a church more organically/biblically through missional communities due to the slowness of growth. I think that's the problem with church planting in the US today is that speed of numerical growth has taken priority over true and authentic spiritual growth
 
— evansavage1
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.