Welcoming Well Must Include These People

Editor’s Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.


One of my favorite places in the world is Disneyland Paris. Of all the Disney parks world-wide, it is perhaps the most beautifully designed experience. There are so many details that can be found such as the signature icon, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

On my YouTube Channel, I have videos posted of Disney Imagineers talking about the amazing lands of Disneyland Paris. Signature icons like this stand out across the park. But get up close and each of these majestic attractions is full of beautiful, intrinsic details, like the stain glass you see below:

The Imagineers know that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into creating these beautiful attractions, it’s all for nothing if the guest experience isn’t supported by the Cast Members. To that degree, they emphasized this at the end of the one of the videos:

Here are some key messages from this vignette:

  • It’s easy to forget when designing a great experience the importance of what the Cast Member brings.
  • Cast Members bring the story to life.
  • People most often talk about how great the service is of the Cast Members than any other aspect of their experience.
  • Imagineers put their work in the hands of Cast Members to maintain, keep the park beautiful, to keep the story alive, and to bring about the spirit of the parks through their smiles.
  • Cast Members are truly the host–the guest experience is in the hands of the Cast Member.

Of course, getting the right Cast Member delivery requires having the right Cast Member. This was particularly important when Disneyland Paris opened, because many potential candidates from that area were not familiar with the guest-friendly expectations Disney makes of its Cast Members. Fortunately Disneyland Paris Resort has now been through a generation or so of guests, so that many new hires were once guests who enjoyed Disneyland as children themselves. They see how powerful the guest experience can be.

Emphasizing the role of Cast Members is not just Disneyland Paris’s challenge. It’s the challenge of all of Walt Disney attractions. Walt Disney World alone needs to hire thousands of new Cast Members each year. Staffing some 70,000 roles throughout the property is no easy job. That’s why a few years ago Disney Parks put out videos like the ones below, letting potential hires know not only what it’s like to be a Disney Cast Member, but what is expected.

In your organization, you probably don’t have castles or Cast Members. But you do have staff, and you want to emphasize the importance of your employees. Ask yourself:

  • How do I demonstrate that my employees are important?
  • What would fall apart if I didn’t have capable employees supporting me?
  • How do employees add or distract from the investment that I have made on the entire guest experience?
  • To what length do I communicate expectations to potential hires of what I want in a great employee?
  • What resources do I utilize to support my employees in the work they do?

We often say that employees are our greatest asset. How do you invest in those assets? Or, do you treat them more like a liability? That’s the opportunity every organization–maximizing your most important assets. Always consider: how important are your employees?

Leadership matters when it comes to having great employees. That’s why you may want to check out my latest book, available on Amazon and Kindle. Take a look at Disney, Leadership and You. Find new ways you can lead your employees to greatness. Check it out today!

> Read more from Jeff.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Kober

Jeff Kober

Writer. Columnist. Speaker. Facilitator. Trainer. Coach. And the thought leader in best-of-Disney practices. For nearly 35 years, Jeff has delivered development and training solutions for the private, public and non-profit sectors. He has facilitated hundreds of programs and delivered keynote addresses to scores of clients as diverse as General Electric, the U.S. Postal System, Federal Express, and the City of New York. Topics have ranged from leadership to performance accountability, from customer service to team building. Jeff’s consultant activities were previously associated with The Disney Institute, a best-practices institution modeled on America’s first corporate university. While there, Jeff was responsible for designing The Disney Approach to Quality Service and Service, Disney Style programs. The models, concepts, and examples of those programs were later introduced in the successful business book, Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, with a forward by former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner. Jeff continues to be the thought leader in sharing best practices of the Walt Disney Companies for corporations worldwide. He hosts DisneyatWork.com, with blog posts and podcasts featuring ideas on life & work from the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Many of those stories and concepts have been penned into four best-in-business books on the house of the mouse: Disney, Leadership and You; Lessons From Epcot: In Leadership, Business and Life:Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz; and The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney. Beyond Disney, Jeff emphasizes best practices from a range of amazing organizations. Jeff is a partner and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, which provides a programming series that benchmarks many of America’s greatest corporations. Along with his business partner, Mark David Jones, he has co-authored Lead With Your Customer now in its 2nd edition. It showcases scores of examples of how private, public and non-profit world-class organizations have transformed their culture and brand into world-class excellence.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Non-Threatening Ways to Talk to First Time Guests

Q: 

When I spot a guest in the lobby that I don’t recognize, how can I approach them without coming right out and asking “Is this your first time?

A:

Hats off to you for recognizing that the “Is this your first time?” question can have a negative nuance associated with it. True, on the list of icebreaker question hills we should die on, this one is admittedly low on the list (“I don’t know who you are or who you think you are, but you’re sitting in my pew” is probably a much bigger deal.)

Here’s why I say it’s negative: I’ve found that “Is this your first time?” can put a first-time guest on the defensive. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to a question that makes them feel like an outsider and scramble to build a narrative that bridges the gap between you and them.

We should do all we can to absorb the awkwardness on behalf of our guests. That means we take the burden of weirdness off of their shoulders and place it onto ours. And that translates even into the small details of beginning a conversation.

So let’s say you’ve spotted that first-timer across the lobby (see six tips here for how to do just that). How do you kick off the convo? Here are a few of my favorite practices:

Walk slowly through the crowd. Making a beeline toward a first-time guest can make them feel like they’ve been put on the spot. It may be better to warm them up by letting them see you talking to lots of people, not just targeting them.

Start with generics, move to specifics. Eye contact, a smile, and a “good morning” always serves as a good kickoff. You don’t have to go in for the kill from the first moment.

“I’m not sure we’ve met.” This is my personal favorite line to use. You’re shouldering the responsibility for knowing them, acknowledging that you may have met before (which is great for forgetful folks like me), and giving them an opportunity to open up in conversation.

Assess their longevity. Now is the time to figure out how long they’ve been around, so that you can best help them. After initial small talk, you can ask, “How long have you been attending?” If they answer a few months or more, you have the opportunity to see how their connection process is going. If they say a few weeks or less or – even better! – this is my first day, you get to play the hero by being genuinely excited to meet them and suggest a simple next step.

Don’t assume their desire for proximity. Some guests may prefer to fly solo on their first visit. Others may really be looking for a friend. You can help with this by asking if they have someone to sit with, someone to go to lunch with, someone they’re meeting, etc.

Find a way to follow up. Remember their name and make a point to find them after the service just to check in. If appropriate, give them your contact info or swap for theirs. The first visit is a big deal, yes, but it’s often what happens just after the first visit (like a personal note) that will determine whether a guest comes back.

How do you start conversations on the weekend?

> 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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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Great Church Hospitality Starts Here

Editor’s Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.


If you don’t know by now, customer understanding is the cornerstone of customer-centricity.

Customer-centricity means putting the customer at the center; customer understanding is how you’ll achieve that.

What is customer-centricity?

A lot of people talk about being customer-centric, but it’s one thing to say that and another to be it! Customer-centricity is about putting the customer at the center of all you do.

Customer-centric companies ensure that they make no decisions, design no products and services, and implement no processes without first thinking of the customer and the impact that the decision or the design has on the customer. They ask, “How will this impact the customer? How will it make her feel? Does it add value, or does it create pain?”

In customer-centric companies, decisions are always made with the customer’s best interests in mind. The customer’s voice is brought into meetings and into conversations; the customer is always represented. Jeff Bezos’ empty chair concept is a great example of this and has been widely adopted by other brands.

It’s important to note that a customer experience transformation can only happen when there is a commitment to change the culture to one that is customer-centric, even customer-obsessed.

Being customer-centric happens by design. Customer-centric companies do the following to ensure the organization knows its reason for being, i.e., the customer, and to embed the customer into the DNA of the organization. They…

  • Have visible (and visibly) customer-centric leadership, demonstrating a customer commitment from the top down
  • Develop and socialize customer personas
  • Speak and think in the customer’s language
  • Use customer feedback and data to better understand their customers
  • Are engaged in continuous improvement as a result of the customer understanding efforts
  • Focus on products and services that deliver value for their customers, i.e., solving their problems and helping them with jobs to be done
  • Have a commitment to customer success
  • Engage with customers from the beginning
  • Walk in the customer’s shoes to understand today’s experience in order to design a better experience for tomorrow
  • Foster a customer-centric culture
  • Empower the frontline to do what’s right for the customer
  • Ensure all employees (front line and back office) understand how they impact the customer and her experience
  • Recognize the customer across all channels
  • Design processes and policies from the customer’s point of view
  • Measure what matters to customers
  • Encourage customer innovation
  • Include customer-driven values in their core values
  • Recruit and hire employees passionate about customers and about helping customers
  • Incorporate the customer and the customer experience into their onboarding processes
  • Train employees on how to deliver the experience that customers expect
  • Establish a customer room that is open to employees 24/7 so that they can learn more about their customers and the customer experience
  • Rewards and recognition reinforce employee behaviors that align with customer-centricity
  • Have a C-suite executive who champions the customer across the entire organization
  • Customers before metrics, i.e., every meeting begins with and includes customer stories
  • Invest in the latest technology to support and deliver the experience customers expect

As you can see, becoming a customer-centric organization is a commitment that requires a mindset shift and a behavior shift. And, especially, some investments – financial, human, time, resources, technology, and more.

What is customer understanding?

Customer understanding is all about learning everything you need to know about your customers, i.e., their needs, their painpoints, the jobs they are trying to do, etc., and their current experiences in order to deliver the experience they expect going forward.

There are really three ways to achieve that understanding. The problem with these approaches is that, if not done correctly, you’ll be no further ahead in terms of understanding than if you hadn’t done them.

The three approaches are:

  1. Listen. Don’t just ask customers about the experience, listen, as well. There are a lot of different channels and ways for customers to tell you about their needs and desired outcomes and how well you are performing against their expectations. Understanding these expectations and identifying key drivers of a great customer experience are important outcomes of this exercise.
  2. Characterize. Research your customers. Identify the jobs they are trying to do. Compile key personas that represent the various types of prospects and customers that (might) buy from you or that use your products or services.
  3. Empathize. Walk in your customers’ shoes to get a clear understanding of the steps they take to do whatever job it is they are trying to do with your organization.  Map their journeys to understand the current state of the experience.

These are all learning exercises. We walk away from them with a lot of knowledge about customers, but we need to make sure we truly understand what we’ve heard about customers, their needs, and their expectations. Without that understanding, the exercises have failed. Make sure they’re done right.

And then make sure you do something with what you learn! This is where customer understanding manifests into customer-centricity and becomes the cornerstone for it. Make sure to put the customer front and center.
Here are just a  few things you can do to infuse the customer into everything the organization does. Key to this is to start at the beginning, i.e., start with the first day an employee starts working for your company. (Even better: start with the first day you start your company.)

  • Onboarding: Showcase your customer-centric culture during the onboarding process so that new employees know what that means. This is a great time for them to learn what it means to be a part of your organization, i.e., knowing your brand promise, values and commitment, what it means to live the brand, where the priorities lie, and how to deliver a great customer experience. This is a great time to set the tone for employees.
  • Ongoing training: You can’t expect that, as both the business and customer expectations evolve, employees will automatically know what to do and adapt/evolve, too. You need to train employees regularly to ensure they are kept abreast of new customer insights and new approaches to delivering a great experience. Be sure to provide updates on anything you’ve learned about customers, the jobs they are trying to do, and their expectations.
  • Communication: What gets shared and communicated regularly is viewed as important to your employees. Not only does communication lend clarity, it is critical to a clear line of sight to the goal. Communication needs to be open and ongoing. Share customer feedback with employees; don’t keep it from them. Tell customer stories and stories of great experiences to teach and to inspire employees to deliver the experience they need to deliver.
  • Rewards and recognition: When you recognize and reward those who consistently delight customers, you are reinforcing the behavior you expect from your employees, further confirming and solidifying the importance of putting the customer at the center of all you do.

Other ways to ensure the customer is always front and center, include:

  • Personas on every wall: these help to remind employees who the customer is, what she’s trying to do, her pain points, what delights her, etc. – again, keeping her front and center in all you do
  • Customer cut-outs: place these around the office – and especially in meeting rooms –  to keep the attention on who really matters; they should include details of who the customer is and what she thinks and feels about the current experience
  • CCO/CX professionals: in key decision-making meetings, especially, there needs to be a representative from the CX team present to represent the customer voice and perspective
  • A real customer: imagine that! ask a customer (or multiple customers) to attend a meeting in which you’ll be making decisions critical to the customer experience
  • Customer feedback: have you gotten feedback about the product or the touchpoint you’ll be discussing; share it with meeting attendees so they understand how customers feel about the current experience
  • Journey maps: this might seem like a stretch, but if you can show executives/employees how the changes they plan to make impact the experience through truly walking in customers’ shoes, then that’s a powerful tool to have at your disposal, too

As you can see, all of the tools to facilitate and drive customer-centricity are rooted in customer understanding. In case there was any doubt, customer understanding really is the cornerstone of customer-centricity!

> Read more from Annette.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Franz

Annette Franz

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She’s on the verge of publishing her first book about putting the “customer” into customer experience. Stay tuned for that! Annette is active in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), as: an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, and a CX Mentor. And she is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for successful business and career coaches. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Giving Your Guests Your Best

Editor’s Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.


When I was a young boy, I imagined I was Wild Bill Hickock a lot of the time…or sometimes I was Hopalong Cassidy.  We watched the great cowboys on black and white television and then rushed to the back yard to replicate their antics.  I now live on the 13th hole of a PGA golf course designed by Jack Nicholas about an hour from the Augusta National golf course.  My golf-playing buddies would watch golfing greats at the Master’s on color television and then rush to the nearby links to replicate their moves.  The mimicking behavior looks the same to me.

So, what if you watched great service in action and then rushed to the marketplace to replicate what you experienced.  I have a friend who is the CEO of a company.  She gives her new hires a night at the nearby Ritz-Carlton hotel followed by lunch at a nearby Chick-fil-A.  All she asks is that they come back and catalog actions they observed in the two establishments and how they could use those same actions at the company she leads.

But, here is one for those of you who lead a customer-facing unit or organization.  What would it take to deliver a customer experience so profound your customers would be moved to serve others in the way they are served by your employees?  What would it require for your service to be a poignant role model of greatness to everyone?

Touch-your-heart service has a magnetic impact on customers.  It attracts them because it conveys to a customer the kind of unconditional positive regard that characterizes a relationship at its best.  Customers like the way they feel when dealing with service providers who have such a greatness orientation.  They feel valued, not used.  They enjoy relationships with value and substance far more than encounters that are functional but hollow.  Give to your customers the best that you have and the best will come back to you and to others.

> Read more from Chip.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chip Bell

Chip Bell

Chip R. Bell is the author of several best-selling books including his newest: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service. He can be reached at www.chipbell.com.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Gospel Lives in “Good Morning”

It’s fairly easy for volunteers on your team to state what they do. It’s also pretty easy for most volunteers to talk about how they do what they do. However, few volunteers can actually articulate WHY they do what they do.

The reason? Stating WHY goes to values, and values are often talked about but more often misunderstood.

A church without values is like a river without banks – just a large puddle.

Values are the shared convictions that guide the actions and reveal the strength of the church. They are the values that represent the conscious and collective soul of your church because they express your most deeply held ideals. They define your ministry’s ethos.

Values are filters for decision-making and springboards for daily action. They are the constant reminder of what is most important to your church.

As with any organization, your church has a set of shared values underneath the surface of everyday activity. The problem is that they stay weak because they are unidentified and unharnessed in guiding the future.

The role of the leader is to identify the most important values and pull them above the waterline of people’s perception. Once they are in clear view, the leader can nurture their development, enabling the church to do more of what it does best.

What is true of your church as a whole is also true of individual ministries in your church.

THE QUICK SUMMARYPeople Are The Mission by Danny Franks

Danny Franks, Guest Services Pastor at Summit Church, shows church leaders how to take a more balanced approach to the design and implementation of a guest services ministry. He introduces a new model for welcoming people to your church that is both guest-friendly and gospel-centric.

Your church’s preaching and worship styles may draw a crowd, but to keep a crowd, people must sense that you love them, that you expected them, and that you can’t wait for them to return. Finally, here is a book that tells you how to make that happen.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

It’s easy to give a volunteer a job description and then point them in the right direction. Anyone can assign a task. And for the most part, just about anyone can execute most tasks.

However, a good leader does not just assign a task. A good leader starts with creating a compelling vision for the task. A great leader continually casts this compelling vision so there is no doubt why a ministry exists.

The main thing of the church – our why for existing – should be defined by God’s Word. And the primary message of Scripture is Jesus and that Jesus changes everything.

The good news that Jesus brought – real forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation with our Creator – does indeed change everything. It changes the way we live, work, and play. And it changes the way we structure our worship services and our annual budgets. When the gospel is the main thing, it will change everything. It will renovate our curriculum and reengineer our business meetings.

So rather than adapt to a formula, cut and paste a few principles, or tackle a list of action steps, take just one action step: imitate Jesus. Let’s remember that the one who sought us is still seeking others. Let’s keep in mind that the one who sought us is still seeking others. Let’s keep in mind that the Great Commission doesn’t just challenge us to make disciples at the ends of the earth but in our backyards. Let’s be salt and light, love people well, and set our weekend services up for great hospitality.

We need to keep reminding people that though we pour coffee, we are not there primarily to pour coffee. We direct traffic, but we are not traffic cops. We want a smooth, error-free service, but we don’t show up so that the weekend service will run more smoothly.

We do all that we do as a living, breathing, example of the grace of God, our small acts of service serving as a witness to God’s goodness in the life of an unbeliever.

Danny Franks, People Are The Mission

A NEXT STEP

People Are The Mission author Danny Franks writes, “We need to remind our teams that hospitality is a catalyst.” He continues, “That’s why it’s important to push the vision for serving guests at every opportunity.”

One of the best ways to communicate vision is through stories. As a leader, you should build up and maintain a “story repository” of at least ten great stories that relate volunteer heroics, ministry wins, and life change in action.

If you don’t currently do this, here’s a way to start. At your next team meeting, conduct this exercise:

You are in charge of a space expedition. Your purpose is to establish a colony on a distant planet. This colony must replicate the very best characteristics of your church’s hospitality ministry – but your spaceship only has ten seats. Uncover the heart of your hospitality ministry by selecting volunteers who will fill these seats.

Discuss among your team individuals to go on the journey. Who represents the “best of” your hospitality ministry? Use these questions to help you with your decision:

  1. What values do they live by, regardless of recognition?
  2. How do they demonstrate the values?
  3. Will their values be valid 100 years from now?
  4. What’s their “story” of serving on the hospitality ministry?

The resulting ten people and their “stories” should be the start of helping people connect the dots between the way the people served and how Jesus saved. They can demonstrate how the work they did helped pave the road toward a gospel awakening that a guest experienced.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix #99-1, released August 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

Each issue SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Everyone on Your Church Staff Is On the Welcome Team

Church staffs are infamous for building silos. Most of the time, it’s innocent: we get busy working in our corner of the world, and we forget that there are other ministry leaders running alongside us who would benefit from knowing what we do (and vice-versa).

But in a worse-case scenario, silos mean that your ministry is limited to the walls of your ministry. And in a guest services world, that’s harmful. After all, if the parking team and seating team understands the “win” behind caring for your guests, but your kids team and worship team doesn’t, well…that doesn’t ultimately help your guest. And if your finance team doesn’t understand why you spend so much money on your first-time guest bags, well…that might mean no more gifts for your guests.

So how do you transfer your DNA to other staff members? How can you help them understand the importance and the impact of a strong hospitable culture, regardless of the team they lead or the title they hold? Here are a few things we’ve been experimenting with on our team:

1. Create a hospitable culture from their first day on the job.

Most vocational first days are a mixture of excitement and letdown: excitement because we don’t really know what to expect; letdown because what we get usually isn’t what we expected.

The truth is, we don’t often plan well for our new employees’ first days. And our church was no exception. Last year we revamped our new employee orientation, approaching it more from what they need to feelrather than what we need them to know. Our Guest Services team worked closely with our personnel team to make the first week something special. We provide new team members with a “first day ambassador:” a friend who is assigned to them for the day, we find out their favorite snacks and have them available as a small treat, and we craft the normal tedium of orientation meetings around the exciting parts of our culture.

I recognize that our staff is on the larger side – meaning we host orientations every month or so. But creating a culture of hospitality is entirely scalable. And you can set an expectation for new staff just by making sure they’re treated well from day one. So the question for you: how can you create a powerful moment for your new staff member?

(For more ideas on this, read chapter two of The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath.)

2. Make your guest services training a requirement for all staff.

At our new staff orientation, we ask a few of our staff teams to spend some time talking about what they do, how it creates our overall culture, and what this means for the new hire’s role, regardless of what their role is. My team talks about the why behind guest services, and how a healthy, guest-friendly culture applies to our workweek (pick up the trashanswer your emails, etc.)

But we take that ten minute conversation one step further. A couple of years back, we started making our guest services training mandatory for all staff members. (I swiped this idea from Christ’s Church of the Valley, who requires all of their staff to go through both their hospitality and security training.)

Twice per year I’ll provide lunch and a customized training for our newer employees. We take them through our normal Guest Services training that our volunteers experience, plus we include some high-level staff training that helps them see the thousand-foot view, and helps them understand why a strong guest services culture is a gospel issue, not just a standalone ministry. The “aha!” moments that this training creates has been invaluable to us, and has helped all of our team see that first impressions isn’t just for first timers, and a hospitable culture isn’t the responsibility of one ministry area.

3. Have ongoing “teaching moments” in staff meetings.

A ten minute orientation talk and a one-time mandatory lunch isn’t enough. Look for opportunities to drip your guest services culture on an ongoing basis. My goal is to look at the what of any new staff procedures through the lens of the bigger why, and as those procedures are communicated, my team will sometimes jump in to add the why to the what.

For example, if we’re scheduling an office or campus clean-up day, my team might piggyback with the facilities team to talk about seeing what our guests see. If we’re rolling out a new phone system, my team might join the front office team to talk about the importance of actually returning phone calls. (Spoiler: you should.)

[related post: Make the Maintenance Guy a Guest Service Pro]

4. Practice what you preach.

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of guest services, hospitality, and quality. It’s quite another to deliver those things to your own staff team month after month, meeting after meeting, event after event.

So make it a habit of making the most of office culture, staff meetings, and other “in the family” events. Don’t tell your team that they should dress up their tables for meetings, but have nekkid tables in your own. Don’t expect your staff members to be alert to new guests on the weekend if you’re just barely getting by on quality during the week. Demonstrate what you want them to replicate, and don’t let your normal routines be too terribly normal.

5. Make yourself available as a resource.

Finally, DNA transfer happens best when it follows your example. For that reason, play the role of the servant-in-residence and serve your staff any way you can. That might look like helping your student team think through the outward focus of an upcoming event. It could mean helping to train your kids volunteers or small group leaders on how to be more hospitable in their own ministry. Or it could mean that you organize a parking team and serve at an event that you have nothing do with. I believe that serving begets serving and quality begets quality. If you take the lead, others will eventually follow.

[related post: Q&A: How Do I Get Beyond the Guest Services Silo?]

How do you transfer DNA from your ministry to other ministries on your staff team?

> Read more from Danny.


 

Want to know more about Guest Experiences at your church? Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator here.

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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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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Exceptional Guest Experience, Part 3: PEOPLE

At Auxano, we’ve walked with more than 500 churches through a process called the Guest Perspective Evaluation. And when they’re done, they all ask, “What’s next?”

Amazingly, most church leaders don’t actually have a plan they can use to improve their Guest Experience!

Ask them about their strategy and you’ll discover it boils down to this:

We’ll be friendlier.

It’s understandable. Church leaders are too busy on the weekend to actually understand what Guests see – and experience – to really know how to make things better. After all, your church is “friendly,” right? And that is all you need to have a good Guest Experience.

But why settle for good?

An exceptional Guest Experience ministry doesn’t have to be complicated. We recommend you execute on just three things:

  1. Place
  2. Process
  3. People

Focusing on these three things will allow you to welcome first time Guests, welcome back returning Guests, and create a culture of hospitality within your church that extends your ministry beyond your walls.

The catch?

Each of these three elements shares one requirement: paying attention to details.

It’s impossible to have an exceptional Guest Experience unless you pay attention to details.

This is such an important principle that we are devoting two issues of SUMS Remix to this concept. What is SUMS Remix? It’s one of the other great parts of my job: a “book excerpt” published every two weeks, with each issue listing excerpts from three books addressing a challenging problem leaders face.

I typically reprint sections of SUMS Remix from prior years on my other website, 27gen. However, August is a month-long focus on Guest Experience, and I’m pleased to be able to reproduce excerpts from these special issues of SUMS Remix here.

For the first issue, we will look at the three components of an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience, with lessons from the world leader in Guest Experience – the Disney organization. The second issue will highlight lessons from another area of hospitality – the pro chef’s kitchen – on how churches can provide an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience.

Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.

The PEOPLE involved in welcoming Guests

THE QUICK SUMMARYCreating Magic, by Lee Cockerell

The secret for creating “magic” in our careers, our organizations, and our lives is simple: outstanding leadership—the kind that inspires employees, delights customers, and achieves extraordinary business results.

No one knows more about this kind of leadership than Lee Cockerell, the man who ran Walt Disney World® Resort operations for over a decade. And in Creating Magic, he shares the leadership principles that not only guided his own journey from a poor farm boy in Oklahoma to the head of operations for a multibillion dollar enterprise, but that also soon came to form the cultural bedrock of the world’s number one vacation destination.

But as Lee demonstrates, great leadership isn’t about mastering impossibly complex management theories. We can all become outstanding leaders by following the ten practical, common sense strategies outlined in this remarkable book.

Combining surprising business wisdom with insightful and entertaining stories from Lee’s four decades on the front lines of some of the world’s best-run companies, Creating Magic shows all of us – from small business owners to managers at every level – how to become better leaders by infusing quality, character, courage, enthusiasm, and integrity into our workplace and into our lives.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Walt Disney knew the value of learning as much as possible about the front lines by spending time on the front lines.

The time on the front lines meant paying attention to the details the people were experiencing – and that meant people on both sides: the Guests and the Cast Members interacting with them.

Walt would regularly walk through the Park, looking for problems or things to improve. He was good at it and always welcomed suggestions. I copied his routine. I continually walked through the Park, looking for different things, people problems. Facts are easy to identify; I was looking for feelings that were bothering Cast Members.

Van France, founder of Disney University

Walt Disney had established a priority in which leaders never stopped looking at Disneyland from the perspective of the Guest, learning a tremendous amount from these encounters.

No matter what kind of work you do, it you aspire to truly great leadership, you need to get all the facts pertaining to your operation. And to do this, there is no substitute for getting out of your office and onto the front lines of your organization.

The truth is out there – on the front lines. The following tips will help you find it.

  1. Get out and about regularly. Even though he was busy running one of the world’s biggest entertainment empires, Walt Disney used to spend a great deal of time walking around Disneyland, speaking to Guests and Cast Members. And he expected his team to do the same, as well. A long list of innovations and improvements grew directly from those close encounters with the Guest experience.
  2. Get a ground level view. To the degree it’s possible, observe your operations the way your Guests see them.
  3. Meet regularly with direct reports. Don’t just ask your direct reports if everything is OK and take “yes” for an answer. Everything is never OK. Hold substantive meetings with them on a regular basis.
  4. Assemble small groups. One of the most effective ways to gather information is to bring employees together to talk. A group of ten or twelve people is the best size as it gives you a diversity of viewpoints while remaining intimate enough for everyone to feel relaxed and have enough time to speak.
  5. Probe for the whole story. People won’t always tell you everything you need to know. It’s not so much that they lie as that they out significant details. Pay close attention to what’s being said and what’s not being said when talking to your employees.

Lee Cockerell, Creating Magic

A NEXT STEP

Review the five tips above with your team, asking if any of the team has used one or more of the tips before. If they have, ask for the backstory and lessons learned.

Emphasize the importance of interacting with the front lines, observing both team members and Guests, by discussing the following questions.

Gather Facts and Feelings

In your organization, can you identify the values that support walking the front lines and keeping in touch them? How do you apply those values in gathering facts and feelings from team members and Guests?

“Walk the Park”

  • What is the equivalent of walking the park in your organization? Who does it, and how frequently?
  • How could this strategy be improved? More people involved? More frequently?
  • If leaders aren’t walking the park, what is the excuse?
  • Walt Disney could carve time out of his day to walk the park. Why can’t every leader do that?

Mind the Gap

  • Is there a reality gap between the ideals espoused in your organization and training programs and the realities of the job?
  • How is the effectiveness of your training assessed? With what frequency?

One Foot in the Past, One Foot in the Future

  • How is the history of your organization kept alive? How could this be improved?
  • How does your organization balance history and legacy with current and future needs? Who supports this?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 72-3, issued August 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<


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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Consider This Method for Getting Guest Information

We are routinely asked about the most effective ways to get guests to fill out communication cards or to turn them in. What if your church could get information on guests before they even set foot on campus? With an online registration form on your website, you can.

Whether you utilize this on a “Plan Your Visit” page, the home page, or the kids ministry page on your website, by offering an online guest registration form you are already ahead of the game when it comes to making a good first impression with a guest. Other than that, here are five reasons you should consider using online guest registration forms.

  1. It shows you expect guests. First and foremost, having an online guest registration form sends the message that you are expecting guests and want to be ready for them. This small detail communicates that your church is a guest-friendly one.
  2. Sunday mornings are typically hectic for parents. Online registration forms are great for all guests, but especially for those with kids. When my family visits a church for the first time, we dread the paperwork that comes with dropping our kids off in the nursery. We know we have to leave earlier than normal because of how long it will take. And we worry about how our kids will act while we fill out the information forms. Online registration allows parents to breathe easier and not dread the drop-off process. Parents will greatly appreciate the efficiency of an online guest registration form.
  3. You can prepare your volunteers. If you know to expect two or three extra guests in a toddler class, you can prepare those teachers for the extra kids. Volunteers are less likely to be stressed by larger-than-normal class numbers when they know what to expect ahead of time.
  4. It allows you to make an impression on kids and parents. On a positive note, knowing whom to expect allows volunteers to add a personal touch to their care. Imagine the impression a teacher can make on a hesitant child if they are able to greet them by name at first sight.
  5. You are more likely to receive accurate information. When a guest is unhurried to fill out a registration form, they’re more likely to fill it out completely and accurately. Also, handwriting issues are eliminated if forms are filled out electronically.

Does your church use online registration forms for guests? Have you ever visited a church that used them? Would you consider using them in your current church?

> Read more from Jonathan.


Learn more about your online guest registration – 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

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Startling New Findings on How Churches Welcome Guests

Every church sends a message through how they welcome and treat guests. Those with no strategy send the loudest message: “What we believe has not impacted how we treat you.” Not to be hospitable is to prove the message of God’s grace hasn’t impacted the totality of the church.

Hospitality is the combination of two words: stranger and love. It literally means to show love to strangers and it is very biblical. God’s hospitality toward us is the foundation and motivation for our hospitality toward others. God loved us while we were still strangers. While we were His enemies, He pursued us. And now we are to accept others the way Christ has accepted us. Being hospitable is even a qualification for being a leader in the church (1 Timothy 3:2). Churches must have a plan for how they show love to those who are their guests.

So what are churches doing in terms of their hospitality toward guests? LifeWay Researchinterviewed more than 1,000 pastors on how their churches welcome guests, and here are a few points from what the research revealed:

  • Nearly 80% of the churches have a centralized location where guests can learn about the church.
  • 40% of the churches gift some type of gift to first-time guests.
  • Churches with less than 100 people in attendance are much more likely to ask guests to stand and be recognized than churches with more than 250 people in attendance.
  • The vast majority of churches (96%) with more than 250 people in attendance ask guests to provide their information on cards the church provides.
  • 85% of the churches with more than 250 people in attendance provide some type of informational class for new people to learn about the church. 50% of the churches with less than 50 people in attendance do.

The research is encouraging in that most churches have a plan for hospitality, for showing love to those who visit. When thinking about hospitality to guests who visit your church, it is helpful to think in terms of systems and culture. They feed off one another in that a church culture that values hospitality will ensure systems are in place, and systems will help reinforce a culture. Both are important.

Systems for hospitality include:

  • A plan to ensure guests know where to park, where to bring their children, where the worship gathering takes place
  • Signage and greeters placed at strategic places in a guest’s path (parking lot, doorways, etc.)
  • A process to gather information from guests
  • A plan for follow-up for those who have attended

But if you do not have joyful and loving people in your church, your systems won’t be able to overcome the lack of hospitality from the people.

A culture of hospitality is based upon the following important principles:

  • Ministry leaders must continually remind people that we were once strangers and God pursued us.
  • Those serving as greeters, ushers, etc. must be friendly and joyful people who love the church.

Because this is such an important aspect of a local church’s effectiveness, I am really excited about Dr. Rainer’s new book, Becoming a Welcoming Church. You can find more information about the book here. I highly recommend it. It would be a great tool to give to people in your church to encourage and challenge them to help make your church a welcoming place.

> Read more from Eric.


Learn more about the importance of how your church welcomes 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

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent information, thank You
 
— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
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
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.