Here’s 5 Reasons OTHER Church First Impression Team Leaders Think YOU Should Attend the Guest Experience Boot Camp

There are quite a few reasons I could come up with to encourage you to participate in Auxano’s upcoming Guest Experience Boot Camp in West Palm Beach, FL. Given the vast array of conferences and workshops you could attend, you might be wondering if bringing a team to Florida is worth the investment of time and resources? So rather than hear my reasons, I thought it would be great to hear from recent attendees of our Guest Experience Boot Camps.

Here are five reasons, when asked what they liked best about their Boot Camp experience, other Guest and Church Hospitality leaders think you should attend:

1. Because hoping to create a better Sunday experience is not the same as actually creating an intentional plan for welcoming first-time guests.

“We loved the space and coaching to think intentionally – and create a plan for our church.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp is the only conference, workshop or seminar that includes the time and tools to create an actionable plan.

2. Because your church is not like any other church, yet has the potential to learn something from every other church.

“Our team really enjoyed how practical the whole thing was. You understood each church had a different dynamic and gave us opportunities to discuss but also learn from others.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp fosters church-to-church interaction and collaborative learning from other leaders across the country.

3. Because learning from experienced practitioners helps more than listening to accomplished speakers.

“I thought the presenters were knowledgeable and engaging. I also enjoyed the Disney references.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp trainers have worked with hundreds of churches and leverage real-time experience in your real-world context.

4. Because leading a team over the long term requires practical tools that supplement training.

“The workbook is gold, and if I lose it, I will probably cry. Thank you for developing such an incredible resource!“

The Guest Experience Boot Camp workbook functions as an “evergreen” resource in training your new, and seasoned leaders to create an atmosphere of hospitality every Sunday.

5. Because engaging, fresh content creates more energy than watching yet another talking head speaker.

“The passion that Bob and Bryan demonstrated for what they believe will make a difference through the stories they shared.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp combines the inspiration and information you are looking for with a plan for implementation that creates second-and-third time guests.

Details and registration information available here.

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

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.

See more articles by >

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.

Neighborly, Part 2: The Power of Family

The heart of God’s purpose for humankind is relationships – first, with God Himself; then, with one another. Arguably, there is no better place to build relationships than at the table with good food and great conversation.

Len Sweet, in his book From Tablet to Table states it eloquently:

Remember God’s first command in the Bible? Eat.

Remember God’s last command in the Bible? Drink.

And everything in between is a table – a life-course meal on which is served the very bread of life and cup of salvation.

It’s time to bring back the table to our homes, to our churches, and to our neighborhoods and the world.

The table is a recurring biblical theme, one that our fast-paced, drive-through, Instant Pot culture finds unfamiliar.

What would happen if we brought back the table as a sacred object of furniture in every home, church, and community?

Are we truly hungry to accept Jesus’ invitation – “Come and follow” – and to go wherever He leads, even if it means next door?

Especially if it means following Him next door!

What would it take for the table to return to the center of our family lives – and by extension, to those God has placed in our circle and situations?

SOLUTION #2: Radical hospitality extends your family

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Smart Compassion by Wesley Furlong

Smart Compassion calls Christians to strategic, prayerful, and biblically based approaches to compassion. With evangelical Anabaptist convictions and insights from psychology, Wesley Furlong uses his background as a church leader and nonprofit founder to guide readers through the three aspects of smart compassion needed for families and neighborhoods to flourish: collective empowerment, radical hospitality, and healing presence.

In the vein of When Helping Hurts, discover wise strategies that bring Jesus’ love to your neighbors. Shift your paradigm from fixing everybody’s problems to spending yourself well. Learn how to hold together justice and evangelism, worldly wisdom and divine revelation, action and prayer.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

It’s one thing to read the Scriptures and reflect on Jesus’ question in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

It is another thing altogether to move from the concept of “who is our neighbor” to “who is our family?”

The willingness to inconvenience yourself for others is a priceless gift, and one of the greatest gifts we can give our communities is the gift of extended family.

We need people who put others first, leave space, and turn strangers into extended family members who quickly feel at home.

Radical hospitality is the opening of our lives and homes to embrace a stranger as extended family. It’s the soil where compassion flourishes.

The word hospitality may call to mind the idea of entertaining guests at nicely decorated dinner parties, but it once meant embracing a stranger as family, even when it was inconvenient and the house was dirty. It’s the high-level nurture, support, responsiveness, and availability that holds a family, neighborhood, and community together.

Radical doesn’t mean “extreme” as many people assume; it means “core.” Radical expressions of core commitments often appear extreme because they’re rarely followed through in practice.

Building on the principles of love, listen, discern, and respond, the acronym BREAD will introduce you to some perspectives and practices that can help you discern how best to embody the value of radical hospitality.

Begin with xeniaXenos is the Greek word for “guest.” In the ancient world, xenia (hospitality) was a well-structured expectation. Jesus clearly established the practices of extending hospitality to strangers, healing the sick, and caring for the marginalized for his followers. It’s just what you do. It’s not a special calling; it’s part of the basic package when you say yes to Jesus.

Recruit mentors – Your mentors will likely change what you do. Mentors provide a relational support structure. Because radical hospitality is a countercultural practice, it’s essential to build a community of people around us who reflect the values we most want to embody.

Embrace tension – When it comes to the tension between hospitality and boundaries, it’s helpful to think about how tension produces growth. There’s no growth without tension, but tension must be wisely calibrated.

Allow margin – There’s no compassion without relationship, and there’s no relationship without margin. Margin, according to Richard Swenson in his book by the same title, is “the space between ourselves and our limits. It’s something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations.”

Discern kairos – The Greeks had two words for the concept of time: chronos (chronological time) and kairos (appointed time). Kairos moments are always divine appointments, but they are not always at convenient times. Embracing inconvenience is a two-part mind-set shift: the first part is recognizing inconveniences as potential divined appointments; the second is discerning which ones to respond to.

The five practices of radical hospitality help us see and respond to the opportunities God presents to us daily.

Wesley Furlong, Smart Compassion

A NEXT STEP

Radical hospitality is one of the greatest gifts we can give our communities.

The core practice of radical hospitality is biblical and impactful, but it is also highly countercultural for many in our western society. Putting people first, leaving space, and extending family to strangers is difficult when we’re never home and running at breakneck speed.

Are you ready to open your life and home in more intentional ways and recover the practice of radical hospitality?

Use the acronym BREAD listed above to create both a measurement of where you are and a path for moving forward. Set aside two hours for the following brainstorming activity.

Begin by writing each of the five short phrases listed above on the top of a chart tablet, one phrase per sheet. Put the sheets all up on a wall. Step back and read each one aloud, then step up and write as many words, phrases, and sentences that fit each phrase. Push yourself to take at least one hour to do this.

After taking a short break, return to the chart tablets and place a green, yellow, or red dot by each word or phrase on the chart tablets. Use the following key:

  • Green = something you are currently doing or can move toward doing relatively quickly in the next two weeks.
  • Yellow = something that can be done in the next three months, with minimal planning and resources.
  • Red = something that will take extended planning and careful allocation of resources to accomplish.

The five practices of radical hospitality help us see and respond to the opportunities God presents to us daily.

Except taken from SUMS Remix 103-2, released October 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

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.

See more articles by >

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.

Neighborly, Part 1: The Power of Hospitality

The heart of God’s purpose for humankind is relationships – first, with God Himself; then, with one another. Arguably, there is no better place to build relationships than at the table with good food and great conversation.

Len Sweet, in his book From Tablet to Table states it eloquently:

Remember God’s first command in the Bible? Eat.

Remember God’s last command in the Bible? Drink.

And everything in between is a table – a life-course meal on which is served the very bread of life and cup of salvation.

It’s time to bring back the table to our homes, to our churches, and to our neighborhoods and the world.

The table is a recurring biblical theme, one that our fast-paced, drive-through, Instant Pot culture finds unfamiliar.

What would happen if we brought back the table as a sacred object of furniture in every home, church, and community?

Are we truly hungry to accept Jesus’ invitation – “Come and follow” – and to go wherever He leads, even if it means next door?

Especially if it means following Him next door!

What would it take for the table to return to the center of our family lives – and by extension, to those God has placed in our circle and situations?

SOLUTION #1: Hospitality points others to Jesus

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt

For many of us, inviting people into our lives and homes feels more like inviting judgment on our entertaining skills and stress on our already maxed-out schedules. But what if you knew that opening your front door had the power to radically change the world? To make an impact and leave a legacy with everyday invitations?

Jen Schmidt has set out to reframe how we think about hospitality and to equip us to walk a road of welcome in our daily lives. Jen knows that every time we choose open-door living—whether in our homes or by taking hospitality on the road just like Jesus—those we invite in get to experience the lived-out Gospel, our kids grow up in a life-lab of generosity, and we trade insecurity for connection.

Just Open the Door is a personal yes-you-can guide to offering the life-changing gift of invitation. Whether you’re a seasoned host looking for renewed inspiration or a nervous newbie not sure where to begin, these personal stories, practical ideas, and poignant insights will give you the confidence you need to see your home as the most likely location for changing the world around you, one open door at a time.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Just what is hospitality, anyway? For many, it’s all about a clean house, amazing food, and perfectly planned and executed evening with friends.

Unfortunately, that image has been engrained into our minds through television shows, glossy magazine articles, and untold Pinterest pins.

In reality, when we overstress, overplan, and overthink inviting others into our lives and homes, hospitality becomes overwhelming to our souls. We become slaves to the expectations of others.

Taken to its extreme, we freeze at the thought of asking others to come to our homes. Afraid that we cannot live up to the expectations of HGTV, the Food Network, Southern Living, Martha Stewart’s Living, or any of dozens more – we find ourselves slaves to the expectations of others.

Where do we find the balance?

It really comes down to knowing the difference between entertaining and hospitality.

That’s the heart of hospitality: to point others to Him, to love on one another while affirming His goodness. 

Biblical hospitality is different from modern entertaining. Biblical hospitality offers our best to Him first, understanding that our best to others will then fall into place. It transforms our selfish motives and elevates our guest.

When the hospitable hostess swings wide the door, all her attention focuses outward: “You’re here! I’ve been waiting for you. No one is more important today than you, and I’m thrilled you’ve come.”

The posture we assume in hospitality is one that bends low, generously offering our heart to one another despite whatever interruption to our own plans or comfort. Extending hospitality is about freely giving of ourselves while granting others the freedom to be themselves. Shifting our focus from us to them removes all unnecessary expectations. No need to worry about what to say or how to act. Just come as you are.

Hospitality, unlike entertaining, treats everyone as a guest of honor rather than grasping at honor for yourself. Opening your door has nothing to do with the actual setting, the guest list, or the food. The atmosphere can be exactly the same yet have very different results based on the heart attitude of the one who welcomes.

  • Status seeking versus servanthood
  • “Here I am” versus “here you are”
  • Self-serving to serving others

The deep-seated worrying, the excuses, and the overthinking of a simple invitation should be warning signs, telling us we’re confusing social entertaining with hospitality. When we use our lives exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, we turn entertaining upside down, and it becomes radical hospitality.

Jen Schmidt, Just Open the Door

A NEXT STEP

On a chart tablet, write the three bullet point phrases listed above. Leave plenty of space below each. Set aside a quiet hour of time to reflect on each. List words or phrases from your personal life under each, using a red marker for the first part of the phrase and a green marker for the second part of the phrase.

After filling out each of the three sections, review the comments in red. What actions must you take to eliminate those?

Review the comments in green. What actions can you take to expand these?

Ask yourself these questions by author Jen Schmidt:

  • Can you think of one friend or family member you could invite for lunch this weekend? It doesn’t have to be at your home, but extend the invitation. Just start.
  • Are you ready to elevate your neighborhood relationships? Pick one activity to begin connecting with those who live closest to you, and you may just begin to change the entire culture of how people neighbor.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 103-1, released October 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.

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 <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

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.

See more articles by >

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.

This Could Change Everything in Your Church Hospitality

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word hospitality? For most people, images emerge of entertaining around meals or inviting friends into our homes for a night of fun and games. Now let’s be clear. There is nothing wrong with sharing a meal with friends and family. Genuine, biblical hospitality, however, is much more than entertaining.

One simple distinction between biblical hospitality and entertaining is that the latter puts the focus on the host. In doing so, it can actually become an issue of pride. As the host, we are concerned what others will think about our home. We wonder, how will our home reflect on us? There is a desire to impress our guests. We want them to like us and the place we live. We worry about making everything just right. If our home isn’t perfectly clean and decorated, how can we possibly entertain guests? This sort of hospitality can easily become more about appearances than persons.

With biblical hospitality, the focus is not on us as hosts. Instead, it is on our guest. Our concern is not on the appearance of our home, but on the needs and concerns of those invited into our homes. What do we have to learn from our guests? What do they have to share? What needs do our guests bring with them that we can address? What promise are they carrying with them that we need to receive? What about our guest can we celebrate during our time together? Soon, we discover the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial. Our differences evaporate into a mutual sense of being included.

Scripture gives further clarity on the concept of hospitality, as well as its crucial importance. The Bible holds hospitality—especially toward strangers—in high regard. The laws prescribing holiness in the book of Leviticus include reference to hospitality:

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:33-34).

We are not only to do no wrong to those outside of our community; we are to actively love the “foreigner” as we love ourselves. In this passage, the better translation of “as yourself” (kamocha) is “for he is like you.” We, too, were aliens once—outside the community—yet God treated us as native-born. The point is reiterated in Deuteronomy 10:19: “… you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “hospitality” is the word philoxenia, which is a combination of two words: love (phileo) and the word for stranger (xenos). It literally means “love of stranger.”

Another aspect of hospitality is important to note. It is not just for the benefit of the other. There is also something extraordinary that is gained when we receive the stranger.

When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,because they cannot repay you (Luke 14:12-14, ESV).

The practice of biblical hospitality is unique because it reaches out to those who cannot reciprocate. In most cases, when we invite friends into our homes for dinner, there is an expectation that they will return the “favor” and have us into their home. But the point of this passage is that customary “pay back” hospitality is of no great merit to God. The very best hospitality is that which is bestowed, not exchanged.

Reflection Questions

1. Where do you have space in your home and in your life, that could be opened up to others? Do you have room in your heart to love and serve someone who is unwanted, unloved, and uncared for? Do you have room in your home to welcome someone, even temporarily?

2. Who in your neighborhood, your place of work or in the places you hang out is living a relationally impoverished life? How can you turn a stranger into a friend this week?

3. Besides welcoming people into our homes, in what other settings might we be more hospitable?

> Read more from Brad.


 

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brad Brisco

Brad Brisco

I have an undergraduate degree in health care admin from Wichita State, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and a Doctorate of Ministry degree in the area of missional ecclesiology. My doctoral thesis was on assisting existing congregations in transitioning in a missional direction. I have been involved in church planting for over seventeen years and am currently the Director of Bivocational church planting for the North American Mission Board. I am co-founder of Forge Kansas City, a missional training center located in Kansas City and the Sentralized conference. I am co-author of Missional Essentials a 12 week group curriculum published by The House Studio, The Missional Quest a book with InterVarsity Press, and Next Door As It Is In Heaven, published by NavPress. Additionally, I enjoy working with existing congregations that desire to more deeply engage God’s mission in a local context. I have taught college level courses for more than ten years, including History of Christianity, Religion in America, Life of Paul, Discipleship and Evangelism and a course on Worship. My wife and I are parents to three children and have been foster parents to more than fifty other kids. You can contact me at brad.brisco@gmail.com

See more articles by >

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.

3 Unpardonable Sins of the Guest Experience

Some of your visitors are looking for reasons not to return.

These guests are difficult to please. If they look for the flaws in your church, they will find them. There are no perfect churches, and pleasing everyone is impossible.  Do your best to love everyone, but the prospect of chasing people who are intent to run is usually a futile process.

Some of your visitors are looking for reasons to stay.

These guests are looking for a few things that are important to them, such as friendship, spiritual growth, help in a crisis, or a healthy environment for their kids. If they find a few things they care most about, they will overlook a few less than ideal aspects of your church.

In fact, it’s amazing how forgiving people can be if you treat them well as a person.

The musicians on your worship team may not be world class, or perhaps you don’t have enough parking, or maybe your student ministry isn’t what you want it to be. But if you treat people well they are usually pretty forgiving.

This is not an excuse to ignore the things that need attention, but it’s enough grace to know that you can still do great ministry while you work on what needs to be improved.

First time guests and people new to your church will give lots of grace for the flaws and shortcomings if you treat them with:

  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Love

But there are some things people who are new to your church will not forgive. These are mistakes you cannot afford to make.

3 Experiences Guests Won’t Forgive:

1) If you treat their kids as a program to be managed rather than kids to be loved.

Structure can beat out spirit, and the programs and processes can become more important than the person.

This can happen in any ministry in your church, but there is little to no grace when it comes to people’s kids.

I’m willing to bet that the heart of your church is about life change, meaning, and real spiritual transformation through Christ. You want to see the children love Jesus and enjoy church!

But here’s where it breaks down. If you begin to make your children’s ministry easier on the staff and volunteer leaders by making it more difficult for the parents and kids, you are making a big mistake. You’d never do that on purpose, but it happens.

The leaders must always absorb the pressure, not the guests.

If the kids become a number in the check-in process or are scolded more than encouraged because they didn’t behave just right, or there are so many rules that it’s impossible to keep up with, it’s highly unlikely that the new families will return.

2) If you treat the adults in any way “less than.”

Most reasonable adults are pretty resilient. As I’ve said, they understand there is no perfect church. But if you treat them poorly as a person, you don’t get a second chance.

One thing that’s easy to forget is that even though someone may be spiritually unresolved or disconnected, they are still usually spiritually sensitive.

If the pastor says something that makes a person feel spiritually foolish, or an usher or greeter treats someone with disrespect, they won’t give you a second chance.

We can’t live on pins and needles worrying about offending everyone, but we can do our best to serve with intentional love and grace.

I remember several years ago trying to help a young mom tend to her crying baby in church. I did my best to be kind and respectful, but I inadvertently offended her by asking her to take her child to the nursery. Maybe I could have done a better job, or perhaps it was a no-win situation, but the result was she was upset and said she’d never come back.

Most of these situations are nuanced and unintentional, but it’s so important to do our best to treat our guests with love, respect, and kindness.

3) If you treat any guest with an eye to get more than you give.

It might seem nearly impossible for a church team to treat any guest in such a way where that person felt like you wanted more from them than for them. But once again, this is easier than it sounds.

Church leaders are often under pressure. They are under pressure for things like more volunteers, larger offerings, and support in general for the vision and direction of the church.

For example, if a church is hurting for more volunteers, they can put pressure on people, including guests, to sign up.

When pressure (or even guilt) is employed rather than inspiration and encouragement, you have fallen into the mistake of wanting more from the people than for them. Your guests have no appetite for that.

Another example might be if a church is behind in the budget. That can sometimes “leak” out in a sermon, or during the time to receive the offering. This kind of pressure makes it feel like the church wants more from the person than for them. If this is what your guests experience, they are not likely to return.

Kindness, respect, and love will always help you treat people well.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

See more articles by >

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.

Why “Friendly” and “Welcoming” are NOT the Same Thing

The goal of excellent church hospitality teams should be to communicate “we are expecting Guests” every Sunday morning. 

However, this does not happen without intentionality. Every congregation, both healthy and unhealthy, tends to drift inward relationally over time. A strong Sunday morning welcome reminds everyone at the church of the presence of first-time Guests.

Remember, there is a difference between a friendly church and a welcoming church.

Without trained leadership and developed systems, a church welcome moves from the healthy expectation of Guests to one of three accidental mindsets. We know this because the team of Navigators at Auxano have experienced these non-verbal communications  in our 15+ years of performing Guest Perspective Evaluations:

“We think you can figure out where to go and sit because we are only tolerating your presence until we approve your theology.”

“We desperately want you to come back again because we need you to help us survive another week around here.”

“We are surprised you actually showed up because most of us have been looking for a good reason to leave for years.”

None of the three will result in a second time Guest visit.

> Read more from Bryan.


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

Interested in bringing your team (up to 5 people) to Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to West Palm Beach, FL on February 26-27? Find out more here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

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.

See more articles by >

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.

The Biblical Call for Hospitality

How should Christians stand out in a society increasingly fragmented and polarized, isolated and lonely, embittered and embattled?

Too often, the temptation is for the church to allow these forces to overwhelm us until we retreat to the safety of a fortress that shuts the door to doubters. But despite its façade of faithfulness, this option is worldlyIt’s exactly what you’d expect in a society like ours, where ideological tribes keep people with significant disagreements from ever interacting anywhere but online, where epithets and arguments are hurled from Twitter towers and Facebook fortresses.

Instead, we must follow the path of the ancient Christians in their countercultural practice of hospitality. Hebrews 13, Romans 12, the example of Jesus, not to mention the many Old Testament commands to welcome the stranger—all of these prompt us to welcome people into our homes and churches. Like the early church, we ought to display a welcoming posture—confident in our affirmation of orthodoxy and compassionate in our embrace of people made in God’s image. The church welcomes.

What makes welcoming difficult these days is that many believe this posture requires an affirmation of identity and behavior. We see this belief most often in matters related to sexuality, but it is increasingly true of political affiliation, whether on the right or the left. That’s why I’ve written that churches should welcome everybody and affirm no one. The church does not exist for the affirmation of its members but for the transformation of its people into the image of Christ.

Still, we welcome. But what does this welcome look like? And what role does hospitality play?

Healthy Hospitality

In traditional Christian circles, we tend to see faithfulness and health in terms of a clear and unequivocal position of orthodoxy on doctrinal and ethical matters. But surely this definition is inadequate. What good is orthodoxy without compassion, or moral standards without love? The sign of a healthy congregation is not merely its statement of faith but also its hospitality toward those who are not members.

Think about the home. A healthy home environment makes space for human flourishing, by inviting people who do not belong to the family to visit and find themselves refreshed. When a family welcomes visitors to the table, the dynamic of the home changes. Yes, the family remains the core, but this outward focus of hospitality renews the visitor and family members alike.

If a family were to see itself only as “us against the world,” with windows and doors boarded up and everyone huddled together for fear of contamination, the home would turn into an unhealthy fortress, where foibles would develop into pathologies, and where pathologies would hinder the flourishing of the family members. Hospitality is important for the visitor and family member alike; it brings health to the home.

The same is true of the church. Hospitality toward those who are not church members (even toward those who have radically opposing political or ethical views) should be normal, not unusual. This is not a step toward compromise; it’s a powerful weapon in our spiritual arsenal. Feasts are explosions of joy on the battlefield of good vs. evil.

The challenge to Hospitality

The challenge today is this: many people assume that hospitality demands a “come just as you are” posture that accepts and leaves alone the people who are welcomed. To truly welcome someone means you put aside any intention to change them, any push to convert them, any persuasion to convince them. According to this way of thinking, true hospitality means full acceptance, no questions asked.

This idea that hospitality means unqualified acceptance was the position of philosopher Jacques Derrida, and it seems to be “common sense” in this day and age. But we cannot embrace this definition, because it is incompatible with the Great Commission.

What if hospitality, properly understood, welcomes people in order to renew them? Peter Leithart makes this point in Traces of the Trinity: 

We don’t welcome the naked so they can be naked in our presence; we don’t show hospitality to the hungry so they can watch us eat. We welcome the naked and hungry to change their circumstances. We make room for them so we can clothe and feed them.

So too with moral hunger and personal shame. We don’t welcome addicts so they can continue in their addiction. We make room for them, and take up residence in their lives, in order to be agents of ethical transformation. We don’t receive the prostitute to help her get more tricks. We open our lives to the prostitute so we can deliver her from slavery—to the pimp, perhaps to drugs, to poverty, to a destructive life. Hospitality is not universal approval. It is universal welcome for the sake of renewal. We make room not to tolerate but to transform.

I love this idea of hospitality for the sake of renewal. But there’s a danger here. If we begin to see people as projects, and hospitality as merely a tool that is geared toward “fixing” someone in need, we dehumanize the people we’ve opened our arms to. We turn people into projects.

Hospitality For The Sake of Renewal

So where does that leave us? The idea of hospitality as universal approval is problematic, but so is the idea of hospitality for the sake of renewal if it turns people into projects. So what do we do?

The answer is to ensure that hospitality for the sake of renewal has in mind not only the renewal of the person being welcomed, but also of the group doing the welcoming. Hospitality leads to our renewal as well.

When we open our arms to people less fortunate, or when we welcome people with whom we have significant disagreements, we open each other to the possibility of renewal. A hospitable congregation serves the people being welcomed and is transformed in the process. This is the kind of church that will stand out. This is hospitality that renews.

> Read more from Trevin.

Download PDF

Tags: ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

See more articles by >

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.

How Effective is Your Assimilation Process?

While many churches implement a number of systems to help them manage the metrics that help them carry out their mission, assimilation often gets lost in the shuffle.

But assimilation, the process through which we forge interpersonal connections, plays a critical role in creating disciples. Assimilation – by fostering intimate relationships and interactions – lays the foundation for meaningful emersion in the church, and subsequently, intentional discipleship.

Assimilation begins with a person’s first visit to your church and ends when that person becomes connected to and engaged with your church. But it is possible, however, for someone to join a church without ever truly making a connection.

But you can’t steward someone without a relationship. Assimilation connects people to your church through relationships – so a church that does assimilation well will also create strong disciples.

So churches employ a variety of systems designed to help them carry out their mission because while assimilation is all about human interaction, systems help us identify and connect with real people and develop a growing relationship with God.

Assimilation includes four basic processes:

Hospitality: Do you leave the door open for guests of your home to walk in, or do you greet them at the door and warmly welcome them into your home?

Church hospitality is much the same. Feeling welcome is due largely in part to feeling comfortable and familiar – and first-time visitors don’t know how to find the restrooms, check their kids into the nursery, or get to the worship center.

And there are two ways to deal with hospitality – passively and actively. Passive hospitality provides directional signs and information for newcomers that make navigating the church easier.

But active hospitality calls for action. It welcomes newcomers with people available to greet and help anyone entering your doors.

Information Gathering: When churches gather information, they often pleasantly find that they had more visitors than they realized.

And while hospitality is hard to quantify, gathered information is easy to measure. Churches that gather information will fuel their ministry opportunities and make each person feel more valued and known.

So with accurate metrics, a church can not only know their attendance numbers, but also the number of new visitors and recognize changes in the attendance patterns of their returning congregants.

Think of it like this: If hospitality is the heart of your system, subjective and qualitative by nature, then information gathering is its head, objective and quantifiable – and actionable with follow-up.

Follow-Up: Following up and following through is an intentional process that gives life to information cards. It’s recognizing what people need, when they need it, and provides you the tools and insight to connect with them intimately. It will also help identify opportunities for pastoral ministry.

Follow-up helps the pastor engage individuals when they need pastoral ministry through information gathering that provides the dates, milestones and prayer requests that connect people when it matters most.

Connection: Many churches confuse attendance with connection. People who feel intrinsically connected to their church – that they are valued and that they matter – are people ready to delve deeper into their relationship with Christ. Connection marks the end of assimilation and the beginning of discipleship.

People often connect to church when they develop meaningful relationships, and helping them connect at a deeper level in your church creates opportunities for responsibility and ownership.

Because when people feel that their church is intimately invested in them, they are more likely to sacrificially and intimately invest in their church – becoming members, givers, servers and volunteers, and ultimately, intentional disciples.

Every church – of every size – must have a process that supports a fully functioning system to ensure no one gets lost, left out or overlooked. Because while no data should ever be more significant than the people it represents, that data facilitates assimilation. And the more powerful your assimilation process, the more powerful your church will be.

When guests – new and returning – arrive, take care to treat them as you would a guest in your home – thoughtfully, warmly and with a comforting joy that acknowledges the value of their presence.

Because ultimately, we as church leaders are responsible for the people who come through our doors. And as a godly leader, when you help ready a heart to be receptive to God and He is allowed to infiltrate everything they do, you are cultivating intentional disciples and stewarding the people God has brought through your doors to serve Him.


Want to learn more about an effective assimilation process? Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Church Community Builder.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Church Community Builder

See more articles by >

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.

4 Areas That Drive Effective Church Assimilation

Every area of ministry in your church is enhanced when you focus on developing an effective assimilation process. Discipleship thrives because there’s a process in place to move people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Community flourishes because people feel connected. Overall church health improves because there’s a plan in place to help people continually grow.

While each church’s assimilation process is unique, there are certainly elements included in every process. Here are the four primary parts or processes that need inspection if you want to build an effective assimilation process in your church:

1. Hospitality

There are two elements to successful hospitality—passive hospitality and active hospitality. Passive hospitality includes directional signs and maps that make navigating the campus easier. Active hospitality involves real people who watch for ways to assist anyone entering the facility.

Are your volunteers trained and equipped to provide the kind of active hospitality needed to make first-time guests feel welcome?

2. Information Gathering

It is overwhelming when churches provide too many ways for the first-time visitor to connect. Don’t provide a catalog of options. Make it very simple and clear. Provide one or two primary options for taking the next step. As people move deeper, you can record more valuable information to increase the level of commitment.

Do you have a simple process for intentionally gathering information that helps you connect with every single person who walks through your doors on Sunday?

3. Follow Up

This doesn’t require a lot of creativity — simply follow up with your visitors and say hello. While this may seem too easy, it is important to evaluate your process regularly! Effective follow-up should help your members and visitors experience one-on-one ministry.

Is your follow-up process leading to more relational connections with the people in your church or are you letting people slip through the cracks?

4. Connection

This step is the end of assimilation and the beginning of discipleship. There should be a smooth handoff to someone who can guide people to go deeper in their relationship with God and their connection to the church. If you aren’t assimilating people, you will be increasing the number of spectators rather than growing strength in the Body of Christ through active disciples.

How are you moving people from visiting your church to becoming active members?

The difference between a church that has successful assimilation and one that doesn’t is how well these parts are working individually and collectively. If any of these four areas in your church’s assimilation process need a “tune up,” check out “The Assimilation Engine.” Effective assimilation can multiply your ministry efforts and maximize your Kingdom impact.

Is your church’s assimilation engine running well? What area needs the most improvement?

Read more from Steve here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

See more articles by >

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.

Creating Your Own Space for Gospel Hospitality

Recently, our church (Redeemer Presbyterian Church) embarked on a hugely ambitious capital campaign to purchase the first of several ministry center facilities in Manhattan, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. Why are we doing this?

It has become increasingly clear that this effort represents good stewardship. Hospitals and colleges in major cities have learned that it is considerably less expensive to conduct programs in owned facilities than in rented ones. For long-term stability and financial stewardship, we should acquire our own facilities.

Ultimately, however, the most exciting reason for purchasing a building has little to do with money. The most important reason for seeking to secure space in the city is gospel hospitality.

HOSPITALITY AND THIRD PLACES

In modern English, the word “hospitality” conveys little more than the word “entertaining” does, but in the Bible it is something important and radical (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; and Titus 1:8). Contemporary Western culture leads us to think of the home as a private enclosure, only to be shared with a few intimates. The New Testament, on the other hand, calls Christians to see their homes as neither strictly private nor public space— but as places where we routinely share our homes’ safety and comfort as spaces to nurture others.

Hospitality incorporates newcomers into common, daily household activities—eating a meal, sharing a cup of coffee, or painting a room. The Greek word for hospitality—philoxenia—literally means the “love of strangers.” Christians are called to an attitude of welcome, not only toward other believers but also toward those who are currently outsiders to the faith.

In most of the neighborhoods where we are seeking property, young single professionals live in extremely tiny spaces. They would be glad for an urban space that welcomes them without trying to sell them something, and that could perhaps provide them with quiet space, a free wireless network, a place to meet others, food, and drink, as well as offering space for family activities and cultural events. We want to say to our neighbors, “This is not just our place; it is also your place.” In a location as suspicious and tough as Manhattan that message will probably take some time to get through – but that is the message.

>>Download the entire article by Tim Keller here as he unpacks the importance of Gospel Hospitality.

Downloadicon1

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Environments >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Keller

Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York City and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cites to date.

See more articles by >

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.