Why “How It Feels” is as Critical as “How It Works”

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 – such as your hospitality ministry.

THE QUICK SUMMARY

The key to growth as a church, youth ministry, or a business is getting first-time guests to come back. And as any good manager of a hotel, a store, a restaurant, or an attraction knows, the key to getting guests to come back is not actually the rooms or the product or the food itself; it’s how guests feel when they’re there. It’s about hospitality. No matter how much effort and time we spend on excellence–stirring worship time, inspiring sermons, a good coffee blend in the foyer–what our guests really want when they come to our churches is to feel welcome, comfortable, and understood.

Written by a church consultant and a hospitality expert, The Come Back Effect shows church, ministry, and even business leaders the secret to helping a first-time guest return again and again. Through an engaging, story-driven approach, they explain how service and hospitality are two different things, show how Jesus practiced hospitality, and invite leaders to develop and implement changes that lead to repeat visits and, eventually, to sustained growth.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

No matter how over-the-top your service, if it doesn’t connect with the emotions of your guest, it isn’t hospitality. Hospitality is about the feeling.

Life is so hurried and hectic. What if the church could be the place where a guest feels the least hurried? Where the relational moments could provide a safe environment – safe to process through difficult moments in our life?

Decide proactively what you want your guests to feel, then look for ways to create environments that will help them experience that.

When the emotion is there, it doesn’t feel like someone’s doing their job. It’s like they’re your friend. It feels like they’re rooting for you and that doing their job is a way to support you – not just a means to perform a task.

Hospitality is about caring for the emotions of the guest just as much as it is about serving them, if not even more. That means knowing when it’s time to go above and beyond the call of duty or when it’s time to walk away. Hospitality is about merging the function – the tasks – and the feeling.

Every time a guest experiences us, we should honor them enough to deliver the same level of hospitality in every experience. But that same level of hospitality might mean responding differently each time, because the experience is about the guest. It’s not about making ourselves feel good about the service we provided. It’s making the guest feel good about the hospitality we showed.

Many ministries have been “doing” this serving thing for so long that all they worry about is “doing.” We need to reimagine what it means to be the guest and what it means to add feeling back into it. This means prioritizing the feelings of the guest over the tasks we perform for them.

The question to ask when faced with this information is obvious: Do we simply let the tasks go in exchange for the feeling? No. This idea of merging function and feeling is about a perspective shift more than anything. It’s not strictly a behavioral change, though this will affect your behavior. It’s about focusing on the feeling of the task – not simply the task itself.

Jason Young and Jonathan Malm, The Come Back Effect

A NEXT STEP

Serving is task oriented; hospitality is feeling oriented. Simply performing tasks is not enough to compel a guest to come back. Hospitality should change the way we perform our tasks. Tasks are important, but it’s the intangible feelings we transmit that turn them into moments of hospitality.

At your next team meeting, expose your team to both the good and negative feelings so they can know what good feelings to deliver in order to replace the negative emotion. Using the list developed by the authors below, highlight the positive feelings that stick out to you. What are some additional feelings your team would add?

You want your guests to feel:

Confident                   Pleased                       Included

Safe                             Comfortable               Refreshed

Satisfied                     Excited                       Challenged

Accepted                    Interested                  Secure

Hopeful                      Valued                         In control

Acknowledged           Relaxed                      Delighted

Empowered               Welcomed

Educated                    Familiar

Now, underline the negative feelings you’ve experienced in guest services environments. What are some additional feelings you team would add?

You don’t want your guests to feel:

Confused                    Doubtful                     Frustrated

Unsafe                         Angry                          Uninitiated

Skeptical                     Hurt                            Overwhelmed

Cynical                        Distrustful                  Uncomfortable

Suspicious                  Processed                  Out of control

Ignored                       Rushed                        Helpless

Annoyed                     Uneasy

By knowing and understanding the negative feelings that can happen, your team what’s possible by replacing those negative feelings with positive ones.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 99-3, released August 2018.


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.


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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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
 
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The Single Greatest Sacrifice You Can Make for a Guest

August kicks off “Guest Experience Month” on Auxano’s content platforms, and there’s no better way to get an early start than with a guest post from Jason Young, Director of Guest Experience at Buckhead Church and Northpoint Ministries.


 

A single mother came into our services looking for a seat. She requested a seat at the end of a row so she could quickly slip out in the event that her child needed attention during the service. I found a row where this might be possible and asked a woman who was already seated, “Ma’am, would it be possible for you to scoot down? This lady needs an aisle seat this morning.”

The woman in the seat looked down, then back up and said, “She can walk around me.”

I apologetically looked at my guest, walked her away from the seat, and said, “I’m sorry ma’am. If you would like to sit in an aisle seat, we don’t have to sit there because that doesn’t feel like the most enjoyable place to sit.” Then I escorted her to another seating area.

If I had said nothing or seated her next to the inconsiderate lady, I would have left my guest feeling the embarrassment and shame of the situation. But because I acknowledged the situation and protected my guest, she felt empowered again. She felt comfortable and respected.

We’re all familiar with the idea of a bodyguard. In fact, you’ve probably seen a dramatic scene in a movie where a gunshot rings out. The film speed slows down as the brave bodyguard hurls himself in front of the person he’s protecting. His body inches in front of the bullet where it makes its impact. The film speeds up, chaos ensues, and you see the relief on the protected person’s face. The bodyguard saved their life by taking the bullet. The brave protector considered the life of their client more important than their own.

While my story isn’t quite as dramatic as that, that’s essentially what I was trying to do for the single mother who attended our service. I was a bodyguard for her. I took the bad experience on myself so she didn’t have to experience it.

That’s the single greatest sacrifice we can make for our guests:

Brokering bad moments so they don’t have to experience them.

 There are many ways we can do this for a guest. Jonathan Malm and I offer quite a few ideas in our book, The Come Back Effect. Some simple ways, though, are things like:

  • The guest doesn’t have to feel lost when they can’t find their car. The parking lot attendant takes that emotion on themselves and finds it for them.
  • The guest doesn’t have to feel embarrassed when their child throws up in the children’s room. The childcare worker takes that emotion on themselves and cleans it up.
  • The guest doesn’t have to feel confused when they’re trying to find out the time of a support group that meets at the church. The greeter takes that feeling, absorbs it, and does the legwork to find out for the guest.

Brokering the experience for the guest is about sheltering them from the emotion. It’s jumping in front of the uncomfortable bullet and absorbing that so the guest doesn’t have to experience it.

When we acknowledge what they’re feeling and work to protect them from that, we make a guest feel truly honored.

In fact, you can even use language like that. It disarms a guest when you say something like:

  • “I’ll keep you from feeling embarrassed.”
  • “I don’t want you to feel lost.”
  • “You got here at the perfect time!”

We never want to reinforce a guest’s insecurities. Instead, we want to reinforce their security. Their comfort. Their confidence. Those emotions are memorable and will stick with the guest long after their visit is over.

Think through your service right now—through things a typical first-time guest has to experience. What negative emotions might they feel, regardless of whether or not they’re your fault or not? Now look for ways you and your team can broker the experience so they don’t have to go through that. It’s one of the greatest acts of love you can do for the guests who attend your services.

check out The Come Back Effect, by Jason Young and Jonathan Malm.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Young

Jason Young

I love growing leaders, building volunteer teams, designing guest experiences and being strategic about how they intersect. I am the Director of Guest Services for North Point Ministries. You can also find me helping organizations and churches. I have worked with Ford, LifeChurch.tv, LifeWay, Growing Leaders, PossibleNOW, The Fellowship, WinShape, Loganville Christian Academy, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Chick-fil-A, Catalyst and others. I have fun reading, watching movies, hiking, and visiting Disney World. I live in Atlanta, GA.

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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
 

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10 Questions You Need to Be Asking Your Team – About You

If you are like me, you are constantly looking around for the best next move to grow as a leader.

I frequently ask why, when, what, and how while looking to enhance who I am as a leader, how my team can improve, and ensure the why is staying at the center of what we do as a team.

I work hard to create a healthy environment with my team that gives everyone permission to provide feedback. From time to time, I will “formally” sit down and invite feedback with specific questions. I recently sat down with one of my employees and asked them 10 specific questions that invited helpful feedback. I walked away encouraged and challenged of where I can improve. In fact, I will sit down with another employee tomorrow and ask the same 10 questions.

“Don’t ask for feedback. Invite it.”
— Claire Lew, CEO, Know Your Company

What if the best next move for you was simply sitting down with your employee(s) and inviting feedback? Try it.

1. Have I ever said or done anything that robbed you of your passion and energy?

2. Is there anything I do that gets in the way of your ability or your willingness to do your job?

3. Do you feel like you have the latitude you need to make decisions that are important to your role?

4. Do you receive encouragement from me that inspires you?

5. Do you ever feel like your voice is not heard or your opinion is not valued?

6. What can I do to help make (insert your organization) the best place you’ve ever worked?

7. What three things do you wish I would continue to do, do more, or stop doing?

8. What’s it like to be on the other side of me:
• In work situations?
• Personally?

9. What could I do personally to help you be more successful?

10.What is my blind spot?

“Your best next move both personally and professionally could come by asking your employee(s) about you. Think of it as getting curious about being on the other side of you.”


> Read more from Jason.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Young

Jason Young

I love growing leaders, building volunteer teams, designing guest experiences and being strategic about how they intersect. I am the Director of Guest Services for North Point Ministries. You can also find me helping organizations and churches. I have worked with Ford, LifeChurch.tv, LifeWay, Growing Leaders, PossibleNOW, The Fellowship, WinShape, Loganville Christian Academy, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Chick-fil-A, Catalyst and others. I have fun reading, watching movies, hiking, and visiting Disney World. I live in Atlanta, GA.

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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

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4 Lessons Your Hospitality Teams Can Learn from a Hotel Concierge

A remarkable hotel concierge has an insatiable appetite to serve guests with professionalism and to deliver personalization through what can often be perceived as monotonous tasks.

Have you experienced the attentiveness and gracious care from a hotel concierge? They have an intuitive nature to know what you need and how to make things happen while balancing ten other things at the same time.

“It gives me peace to know the people around me have nothing to worry about.”

— Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul

After learning from Julien TanguyHolly Stiel, and Marjorie Silverman, all of whom are concierge phenoms, I identified four lessons applicable to those leading hospitality teams and designing environments for guests. A remarkable concierge possesses:

1. Attributes – They have specific elements that lend toward being remarkable. Some of these elements include:

  • Approachability
  • Calmness
  • Perseverance
  • Creativity
  • Charisma
  • Competence
  • Generosity
  • Confidence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Humility
  • Passion
  • Courteousness
  • Strong memory

2. Commitment – They maintain a positive attitude and take it personally while getting the job done for each guest. They are in it to win whatever it is for the guest.

“Recognize what your guests want and need most and what your organization or church does best. Put concentration on where those two intersect.”

3. Capacity – They wear many hats and still deliver a personal and remarkable experience for each guest. You feel like they are taking care of just you when they are really taking care of a number of people.

4. Intuition – They perform a type of triage for the guest. They are able to sense what is needed, how to respond, and then figure out how to get it done. Quickly.

“If you’re not serving the guest, your job is to be serving someone who is.”

— Jan Carlzon

> Read more from Jason


Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp in Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Young

Jason Young

I love growing leaders, building volunteer teams, designing guest experiences and being strategic about how they intersect. I am the Director of Guest Services for North Point Ministries. You can also find me helping organizations and churches. I have worked with Ford, LifeChurch.tv, LifeWay, Growing Leaders, PossibleNOW, The Fellowship, WinShape, Loganville Christian Academy, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Chick-fil-A, Catalyst and others. I have fun reading, watching movies, hiking, and visiting Disney World. I live in Atlanta, GA.

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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.

What Would It Take to Elevate the Dignity of Each Guest in Your Church?

The guest that enters our church should feel welcomed, comfortable, and honored.

I am obsessed with exploring the answer to one question: What would it take to elevate the dignity of each guest in our church? 

I attended a Guest Services Conference this week, and also had the opportunity to speak during a session to the group of influencers. I asked everyone one question, “What would it take to elevate the dignity of each guest in our churches?” To better set the stage, we watched this funny video of Target lady from SNL on how not to elevate the dignity of each guest.

I believe the answer to the above question is discovered when we unearth and respond to eight subsequent questions.

Question 1: Do we allow our interactions with a team member and guest to remain active in front of the backdrop of hospitality?

From a sociological perspective, hospitality was the bedrock of the Middle Eastern culture because only by caring for others could societies, or even individuals, guarantee their survival.The harsh, arid climate, coupled with the nomadic lifestyle of the region’s early residents, made kindness towards guests an imperative. To deny a traveler hospitality – whether it be someone familiar to you or someone completely unknown – was to deny them life. Like any society, a mutual understanding arose that those who were in need could find relief at any house, and would repay the kindness whenever a stranger or guest came knocking at their door. Hospitality found its cultural staying power in the exchange of mutual survival, the willingness to see the value in another life because your life is bound to it, even if not obviously so.

From a theological perspective, the first acts of hospitality were not from human to human – they were from God to man via creation and His grace in the aftermath of the Fall. The specificity of the universe, its fine-tuning and precision, are the first and most excellent examples of creating an environment for guests that makes them feel at home and frees them to interact with God. In the Fall, we see God’s graciousness (which is the root of all hospitality – the extension of grace to the weak) in the fact that he provided clothes to cover their nakedness and a closing off of the Tree of Life to ensure that mankind wouldn’t die in sin. The implications of both of these acts formed a clear through-line for Semitic culture and history: human life is precious, and must be cared for and shown grace. This belief was codified in the Mosaic Law with its statutes on how to treat strangers and sojourners among the Nation of Israel.

Romans 12:13…’practice hospitality’ is included in the list of qualities of a Christ follower. These two words mean one who goes after someone unfamiliar with an environment. You pursue them as if you were pursuing a criminal or enemy. However, you are doing it because you have a love for the stranger.”

Question 2: Are the feelings we have for a guest coming in reflected in how they feel about us when they leave?

“Yes. The Image of God is not selective; it does not appear in some people and disappear in others. All human beings bear the Image and thus have the ability to be moved by displays of the Image in another person. Human beings are wired for goodness—and the best way to draw goodness out is pour goodness in. We see this image most fully in the person of Jesus Christ and in his interactions during his ministry. If you consider how Jesus treated the marginalized, sick, and lost, you see he brought people to faith not by doctrinal savvy but by touch, compassion, and kindness. Jesus brought out the good in people by extending goodness to them—he resurrected the image of God by deliberately appealing to it in his work.”

Question 3: Does our church culture provide freedom for team members to make quick decisions that create a better experience for the guest?

“Is caring for people assigned to a specific team (i.e., Guest Services) or is it the responsibility of everyone regardless of an ‘official’ role – staff and volunteers. The church that has the guest as the priority in its DNA empowers volunteers to make quick decisions to care for the guest. This is seen and felt from the top down.

Think of a something being widespread versus isolated. If something is widespread, everyone in the midst feels it. When something is isolated, only a few are involved and feel the impact.”

Question 4: Do we empathetically prioritize the guest enough to naturally go the second and third mile?

“Do we prioritize the guest so much that it becomes our DNA to never think of going the extra mile as the exception? Rather, we gladly go as many miles as it takes to deliver a feeling of comfort and care. This becomes the expectation and norm.

Our view of three words influence our response to this question:

1. Hospitality – focus is on the guest and the feeling being delivered

2. Service – focus is only on the actions

3. Entertain – focus is on you, the experience provider”

Question 5: Do we break the big picture down into scenes that are more manageable and yield a better guest experience?

“Designing an end-to-end experience can be overwhelming. Writers, directors, and producers, don’t write and shoot everything in one scene. They break it down into manageable and individual scenes and then thread them together. Start small and then thread it together. Your experience will be better!”

Question 6: Do we discipline ourselves and help our team members to be fully present?

“Jesus came into a house. Martha was busy doing and Mary was fully present with the person who mattered. One was caught up in doing everything but hosting the person. Jesus said what Mary was doing was better.

When we choose to be fully present, we are telling the guest that we value them above everything, even all that must get done.”

Question 7: Do we lead in such a way that our team members feel empowered to show care in ways that the guest has a story to tell later?

“Every guest drives on our properties and walks into our buildings with a story that involves a number of characters, mountaintop moments, tragedies, and baggage. Perhaps they have even had a bad church experience in their past. When we posture ourselves to be sensitive to the person driving on our property or walking in our building, we are better prepared to listen and respond.

The main person in the story is not the church. It is not the team member. It is the guest and they should feel that from us. We can influence their experience with us so that they have a story to tell later. We are influencing environments where life change happens.”

Question 8: Do we focus on brokering an experience for the guest in order to protect them?  

“A bodyguard shields the person they are responsible for guarding. We are trusted with protecting each guest from any feeling that might be a distraction in their experience with us. We have the opportunity to replace an insecurity or negative emotion they have with a positive emotion.”

> Read more from Jason.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.


 

 

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Young

Jason Young

I love growing leaders, building volunteer teams, designing guest experiences and being strategic about how they intersect. I am the Director of Guest Services for North Point Ministries. You can also find me helping organizations and churches. I have worked with Ford, LifeChurch.tv, LifeWay, Growing Leaders, PossibleNOW, The Fellowship, WinShape, Loganville Christian Academy, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Chick-fil-A, Catalyst and others. I have fun reading, watching movies, hiking, and visiting Disney World. I live in Atlanta, GA.

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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.