Generospitality Part Six – One Last Reminder About THIS WEEK’s Guest

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.  – Ephesians 5:1-2 CSB

First-time guests may not remember any of the points in your message or any of the words of your music, but they will remember every moment of your welcome.

A culture of joyful, or joy-full, generosity rests on a foundation of careful, or care-full, hospitality. A church that shows their love for strangers is a church that shares their love with each other, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Every step we take toward welcoming strangers with love moves us forward in sharing with the body in love. If the Early Church couldn’t separate loving each other from loving every other, then we shouldn’t try to either.

Consider what may be the most important metric for you to monitor: new givers. How many new people or families began to live in obedience through Biblical generosity this last year? For the most part, many of those first-time givers were also first-time guests. Your culture of welcome set the standard for their commitment to giving from the first time they visited your website. Smiling faces, manicured hedges, and helpful signage all speak to the love your church has for the stranger, those whose names we’ve not yet learned. Your church will demonstrate generosity in their hospitality before you ever communicate about giving in a membership class.

It remains then that Generospitality changes everything for you, your church body, and for your guests. Loving each other, and then loving every other, are actions that will change everything for someone this Sunday.

Stop and consider your guest one last time.

Right now the Holy Spirit is at work in someone’s life, stirring him or her to be your guest this Sunday. Some kind of crisis or challenge has moved them to make this the week they finally attend your worship service. The risk of going to your church to find God will finally be less than the risk of facing another week without Him. Your guest this Sunday will have seen your building or your website. They have likely heard someone else talk about your church. Chances are high that a friend or family member already attends and extended an invitation. They have probably prayerfully invited them for years. Of all the reasons why and how, one simple fact remains: they are coming.

This is their week to attend, and this is your week to love.

This Sunday will be the next opportunity to love each other in generosity. It will also be the next opportunity to love every other, through hospitality. It’s your chance to love by means that change the direction of someone’s life as well as the destination of their eternity. This Sunday, the Lord will add to your number those who are being saved.

Are you ready?

> Download the Seven Checkpoints of an Engaging Guest Experience Tool here.

> Read more from Bryan

 


 

Want to improve your church’s Guest Experience? Learn how at the Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to West Palm Beach, FL February 26-27!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

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); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Stop Confusing Your First Time Guests

One of the reasons people are hesitant to try attending a church for the first time is that they’re not sure what to expect. In fact, they probably expect it to be a little bit awkward and uncomfortable.

Over time, it’s important for your church to become known as a place where people will be able to understand what’s happening. That doesn’t mean changing the message, but it does mean clearly explaining what is going on during the worship service.

If you use words like “prelude” or “convocation” without explanation, you’ll send the message that the service is intended for insiders and those who already understand what’s happening.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make people more comfortable in a church worship service that might be brand new to them.

1. Use easy-to-understand terminology.

Instead of “Invocation,” call it an “Opening Prayer.” Or better yet, don’t call it anything. Just have the prayer. No one really needs to know that a “Prelude” will be happening. Just play the music.

If you have a traditional altar call, or even an invitation for people to go somewhere for prayer, be very clear and specific in how you invite people to respond.

I’ve always said at Saddleback that we have The Living Bible version of the order of service. We’re more interested in making it clear for the unchurched than impressing the folks who know what liturgical terms mean.

2. Provide explanatory notes.

When you go to an opera or play that’s difficult to understand, they provide you with program notes. Tell people why you do what you’re doing in the service. If you hand guests a printed bulletin, it should include a simple explanation of the welcome / commitment card, the offering, the response time, etc.

Something like,

Please fill out one of the welcome cards from the chair rack in front of you and drop it in one of the boxes located at the door where you exit after the service . . .

or,

The offering time is an opportunity for members and regular attenders to invest in the ministry and mission of the church. We don’t expect guests to give.

Those kinds of notes can go a long way to putting people at ease.

3. Eliminate most announcements, and get creative with the few you make.

The best way to recruit people to volunteer, or attend an event, or support a cause, isn’t through an announcement from the stage. It’s best handled through relationships or personalized communication – email, social media, texts, etc.

The few announcements that are made should pertain to the whole body present, not a specific group within the church. And they can be delivered in creative ways. We often have two people on video, making announcements in a lively, news-like fashion.

4. Train members to be greeters and helpers.

Greeting people outside, in the parking lot, is a great start. But it’s also very important to have people insidethe auditorium and classrooms to make people feel welcome once they walk in.

While some people may be part of your official greeting team, you can train all of your regular attenders to be mindful of those who seem new or unfamiliar with their surroundings. Talk about this in your membership class so that everyone who joins understands that they’re informally part of the greeting team.

It really boils down to being sensitive to the apprehension people might feel walking onto a church campus with which they’re unfamiliar, meeting people they don’t know, and participating in a service that might be a brand-new experience for them.

> Read more from Rick.


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

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Ways to Close the Backdoor Through Follow-Up

The church of 150 in attendance averaged two first-time guests a week, or 100 a year. How many joined the church? Only three.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

The church of 225 in attendance had a high attendance day of 360, with 75 guests attending that single day. How many of the 75 eventually joined the church? Only two.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

The church of 550 in attendance has had a Christmas event the past ten years that draws 1,500 people each year. That’s 15,000 in ten years. How many new members can the church trace to the Christmas event? Zero. None. Nada.

The church had no follow-up in place for guests.

So what’s going on? Why are so many of our churches lousy at follow-up? I can point to at least six clear reasons.

  1. The church has no plan in place for follow-up. Follow-up does not just happen. A Great Commission church will know exactly what it’s supposed to do and who is supposed to do it every time a guest visits the church.
  2. Follow-up takes place outside the walls, a place of discomfort for many church members. A church’s follow-up ministry team needs to have the most outwardly focused members doing the ministry. Too many church members fear connecting with people outside the comfort of the walls of the church building.
  3. Follow-up ministry is not as splashy as other ministries. It often goes without encouragement or recognition.
  4. Follow-up ministry can become discouraging. Most of the time we focus on the five who expressed no desire to connect with our church rather than the one who did. We need to celebrate our follow-up ministries more.
  5. Follow-up ministry is not emphasized or recognized by leadership. That which is rewarded by leadership often gets the attention of the rest of the church. Not many leaders recognize or reward this ministry.
  6. Follow-up ministry is not even considered a ministry in many churches. Go to the websites of a number of churches. See how many of them mention some type of follow-up ministry as one of the ministries of the church. For many church members, that ministry simply does not appear to exist.

If our churches and their leaders would begin to elevate the importance of follow-up ministries incrementally, we would likely see a disproportionately positive response. It’s an incredible opportunity most churches are missing.

Read more from Thom.


 

Would you like to learn more about the importance of follow-up? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders. Prior to founding Church Answers, Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Before coming to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.