Conference: Red Carpet Hospitality Seminar – Chambersburg, PA September 2015

Red Carpet Hospitality Chambersburg PA

What barriers keep your church visitors from returning?

Every church wants their first time visitors to come back and begin to

  • Find their own faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Find a place to serve with their gifts and talents
  • Find a place to make a difference in advancing the kingdom of God.

All of this begins as visitors attend and then connect with your church.

But when they don’t return, you often don’t know what happened.

Perhaps you’ve spent money on advertising like a direct mail campaign or business cards members give away. You’ve designed sermon series to hopefully entice a second visit.

You’ve done a lot of hard work to get visitors to come to your church, but they fail to return.

It’s frustrating to work so hard and then feel like it’s all in vain. It leaves you wondering –

Will our church ever reach new people for Christ?

You don’t know what accidental barriers got in the way of their return to your church.

So they walk out the back door, and you are left wondering.  Why did they leave?

When church visitors don’t come back for that second or third visit, your church will not grow.

Every church leader wants their church to have an evangelistic impact in leading people to faith in Christ.

  • A newcomer seeking Christ who finally responds to a member’s personal invitation to church.
  • A newcomer that finally gathers the courage to visit a church after several bad experiences years before.

Perhaps you’ve seen that newcomer in your church, but they fail to return.

If visitors don’t return, you can’t help them find faith in Christ.

Do you make a good first impression?

Do you make a great first impression?

The first step to a return visit starts with a great first impression.

A good first impression can lead to a second visit.

A second visit leads to a third visit.

Additional visits provide more opportunity for your church visitor to make new friends.

Keep your visitors coming back and making friends, and hopefully,

  • they might find faith in Christ along the way, or
  • they might find that place to serve in your church’s ministries!

Red Carpet Hospitality Conference

We wanted you to know about more impacts from your time with us. We’ve had a few folks here at Nineveh really engage your teaching on hospitality. The one that sticks with us is the change from “inviting people to return next Sunday” to “finding a friend.”

We’ve had much discussion around giving folks “10 minutes of friendship,” and are reshaping our greeting ministry with that in mind. So thanks for sharing that insight!

I’ve also had some echoes of appreciation for your time with our Presbytery teaching on personal evangelism. Many felt that it’s just what our churches need at this time in our life together.

Emrys Tyler, Pastor

If you are near Chambersburg PA (USA), attend this one day church leaders conference focused on helping you start creatively thinking about ways to solve this puzzle for your congregation.

Some of what you will cover:

  • How Hospitality Serves the Growth of the Church
  • What hidden barriers keep visitors away and how to fix them
  • 8 Reasons your visitors wont come back
  • How to help visitors begin to make a friend
  • How to help your volunteers excel in their hospitality ministry.
  • How physical facilities shape first impressions and some possible quick fixes for under $100
  • Principles of organizing your hospitality ministry
  • 5 systems that affect your organization
  • What techniques can not accomplish
  • Possible ways to organize your teams.
  • The flow chart of a visitor’s experience

I found Chris’ approach extremely helpful as he spoke using a language accessible to clergy and laypersons.  He has organized and developed his information which makes it much easier for me to teach elders, deacons, and volunteers to practice hospitality.

Chris provides more than sound bites, he provides a methodology for churches to begin using, so they would then be able to adapt to their own particular context.

Most people charged with serving as greeters in the church may not only have no clue to what they are doing, without this training they may even be harmful to the work of greeting and hospitality.

Chris spent time with the seminar participants to help them move away from a less than gracious approach to newcomers and instead, to see it as a calling or an opportunity to share the peace of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Ernest Gardner, III

Who is this Conference For

Wise church leaders will review their hospitality systems and look for unnecessary barriers that keep those church visitors from coming back. Wise church leaders will do advance hospitality preparations in expectation of new church visitors.

Whether you are the

  • Senior Pastor
  • Head of the Greeter / Ushers.
  • The leader of your church hospitality ministry
  • Chair of the committee that oversees your church welcome ministry

Wise hospitality ministry leaders will

  • Review their facility navigation
  • Review their current facility appearance.
  • Review their church visitor follow-up process.
  • Review their status of current hospitality ministries
  • Review their current church greeter process / volunteers
  • Review their process to how they get church visitor contact information.

Doing this kind of review will often reveal a bunch of

  • We need to fix this.
  • We ought-a
  • We should have . . .

Each time your team does a review of it’s systems, you’ll

  • Tweak what has broken
  • Think of what might be missing and provide it
  • Think of how to improve your welcome and greeter process.

By improving your welcome of church visitors, you can impress the visitor who is church shopping, whether they are Christian yet or not.

You can have a worship experience that helps people encounter God.

You can put some new touches on your building and grounds to help your visitors and members easily navigate your facility.

Set aside the time to do this

At the Red Carpet Hospitality Seminar, you will have time to do this with your team and volunteers.

Come to learn some of the practical ways Chris has discovered to grow your church out of his research, study, and first hand real life experience from serving as a local pastor, planting two churches and doing evangelism work cross culturally in 10 different countries.

Chris has distilled dozens of books and 20 years of hospitality teaching into this one day seminar to help your committee have a laser like focus on these issues.  You can follow the trail he’s made, rather than creating one your self.

Register online for free.

You’ll receive reminders as the conference draws near.

We encourage you to bring your ministry leadership team to this event.

Event is open to the public and other churches are invited to register and attend.


Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 40 Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg, PA 17201

When: September 26, 2015, 9am to 4:30pm

Cost: Free to attend.  Lunch will be available for purchase at the event for $7.

How to Register


Comments from Participants

  • It’s comprehensive, vital and helpful. Not a business model, but a formational model rooted in the biblical vision of the Kingdom.
  • Lots of info about the logistics of visitors, hospitality, etc.
  • You will learn some practical things to help your church be a warm and welcoming place for visitors.
  • It gives a solid concept of building a hospitality team and ministry in church.
  • Want to learn how to engage visitors to the church? Go hear Chris speak. He spells it out for you.
  • It will help you understand the importance of hospitality and how to implement a plan.

More Reasons to Attend Red Carpet Hospitality Seminar

So you’ve put together a hospitality committee . . .

  • These committee members desire to help your church grow.
  • They want to help newcomers find a relationship with Jesus.
  • They want newcomers to connect with members of the church.
  • They desire to make the right moves in improving the church hospitality program.

Some volunteers are new to hospitality ministries and have no idea where to start making improvements.

Other members are appointed by the pastor to fix the problems.

They feel the pressure to “make hospitality work.”

So they search the internet for subjects like:

  • church visitor welcome and
  • hospitality at church
  • ideas for church hospitality programs

With so much information available, where do they start to fix the broken system?

Perhaps you were

  • Recently recruited to serve on your church’s hospitality committee.
  • Asked to start your church’s hospitality ministry.
  • Asked to train your church hospitality team.
  • Appointed by your pastor to figure out how to warm up your church’s welcome.

You don’t need to recreate the wheel.

You just need to somewhere to start.

You just need a refresher to help you get a great overview of your system.

Register Yourself for the Red Carpet Hospitality Conference


Has your welcome ministry been neglected?

Maybe you realize that your hospitality ministry has run on auto-pilot for the last few years. It has decayed to the point where something has to be done.

Inertia and inefficiency always creep in to systems, and churches are no different.

Perhaps your church has accidentally created barriers to helping that first time visitor decide to return for a following Sunday. It happens when things are running on autopilot.

You don’t give them a good impression, nor wow them with love and welcome.

You simply hand them a bulletin, and maybe say good morning.

You could spend a few thousand dollars on getting people to 100 additional people to attend your service. But if only one out of a hundred return for a second service, you’re successful marketing efforts are wasted on the lack of retention.

If you are planning

  • a huge outreach,
  • a direct mail campaign
  • launch of a Vacation Bible School
  • social media blitz to get people to a new sermon series

then are you ready to receive the people who come, or will a poor welcome undermine all your advance work and prayer?

Help Your Visitors Make that decision to come back.

Hospitality to first time visitors is one critical element to growing your church.

It plays a huge role in helping visitors decide to make that all important second visit.

Your church can make an eternal difference in the life of your visitors, if you can help them come back on a regular basis.

Every church wants their first time church visitors to come back and start connecting.

Every church wants newcomers to connect and find faith, friendships, and a place to serve in the transformation of a community.

Register Yourself for the Red Carpet Hospitality Seminar

Do you have all your church hospitality systems but still feel like your volunteers are disorganized and lack the vision for your church’s hospitality?

How do you create a vision for red carpet church hospitality that is beyond the pastor and church hospitality committee?

Maybe you realize that your hospitality ministry has run on auto-pilot for the last few years. It has decayed to the point where something has to be done.

Inertia and inefficiency always creep in to systems, and churches are no different.

Perhaps your church has accidentally created barriers to helping that first time visitor decide to return for a following Sunday. It happens when things are running on autopilot.

Your systems and processes for your church’s hospitality can always be improved, and decaying systems can be refreshed.

Hospitality ministry is not about marketing to get visitors.

Rather, it is about giving a great impression to your visitor and helping them make a decision to return and learn more about your congregation’s ministry, mission, and people.

Your hospitality ministry can be improved with some attention given to it.  This seminar is geared to hospitality teams in small to mid-size churches that want to start, grow, or re-fresh their hospitality ministry.

Chris Walker will help you take your hospitality ministry to the next level at the “Red Carpet Hospitality Seminar” at Central Presbyterian Church, 40 Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg, PA 17201

September 26, 2015

Conference–Evangelism Ignite, Montreat NC, September 11-12

Evangelism Ignite Christ Community ChurchHas your passion for personal evangelism diminished?

Does fear stand in your way of sharing your faith in Jesus with friends?

Do you want to find a comfortable way to share your faith, without being forced to stand on the street corner?

Passion is the fuel that helps you persevere through the blockages and inertia that stands in your way.

Once you light a flame, it only burns so bright.

Then, without fresh fuel, it’ll fade.

Passion is like fuel — it burns and needs to be replaced.

Evangelism Ignite:

Join Chris Walker of and Jeanne Kraak of  will be with Christ Community Church of Montreat NC to share practical principles of personal evangelism.

Chris has uncovered some principles of personal evangelism that will help even the most timid joyfully share their faith without being the obnoxious evangelist.

Podcast Interviews Related to Evangelism Ignite

Details for Evangelism Ignite


September 11-12, 2015

Friday night begins at 7pm

Saturday begins at 9am to 3:30pm


Christ Community Church

Gaither Chapel/Fellowship Hall, 310 Gaither Circle, Montreat, NC 28757


A love offering will be received for the work and ministry of PRMI.

Lunch can be available for $5 collected at the door.  Make your reservation for lunch when you register.

Register Here

Registration is hosted at the Dunamis Institute, a ministry of

Register here:


How William Wilberforce Shared His Faith

amazing-grace-william-Wilberforce-MetaxasDuring our summer travels, we’ve been listening to the biography of William Wilberforce: Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, by Eric Metaxas.

The story has been fantastic in unfolding the formative events in his life.

I’ve been blessed by reading about his conversion, the influence of other famous leaders from that time like John Newton (the song writer of Amazing Grace), Charles and John Wesley, and George Whitefield.

What caught my attention the other morning was a description of Wilberforce’s evangelism habits, that developed both out of his personality, but also out of his personal relationship with Christ.

I quote from the book (and reformatted for online reading and emphasis added):

William Wilberforce’s conversion to Christianity in 1785— what he called his “Great Change”— was without question for him the central and most important event of his life.

Indeed, as far as Wilberforce was concerned, faith in Jesus Christ was the central and most important thing in life itself, so it can hardly surprise us that sharing this faith with others was central and important to Wilberforce too.

And so, everywhere he went, and with everyone he met, he tried, as best he could, to bring the conversation around to the question of eternity.

Wilberforce would prepare lists of his friends’ names and next to the entries make notes on how he might best encourage them in their faith, if they had faith, and toward a faith if they still had none.

He would list subjects he could bring up with each friend that might launch them into a conversation about spiritual issues.

He even called these subjects and questions “launchers” and was always looking for opportunities to introduce them.

His efforts to draw his friends into conversation about “first things” sometimes failed, and the objects of his kindness may on occasion have felt more like his quarry.

But in many cases Wilberforce’s conversations bore great fruit, and some who hadn’t known it was possible to be sincerely Christian and yet witty and charming found in Wilberforce an inspiration.

If he, being so brilliant and sociable and wealthy— and a close friend of the prime minister’s!— could be so serious about his faith, perhaps it might be acceptable after all.

It was in his public person that Wilberforce may have done the most to “make goodness fashionable.”

An indisputably captivating figure who defied easy categorization (not that many didn’t try), Wilberforce became something akin to an icon for serious Christian faith.

But he was certainly no moralizing lummox.

His brilliance and good cheer and wealth and charm and obvious earnestness made him too slippery to grasp easily.

For a nation that knew serious Christianity principally through the black-robed figures of John Wesley, John Newton, and George Whitefield, Wilberforce was an undeniably fascinating and intriguing figure.

Source:  Metaxas, Eric (2009-10-13). Amazing Grace (Kindle Locations 2881-2887). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The Evangelism Habits of William Wilberforce

The evangelistic habits of William Wilberforce make a good role model for how we can practice personal evangelism

Wilberforce lived out much of what I’ve compiled in this article: 10 ways to kickstart your Personal Evangelism this Summer, but I want to highlight a few items here

1.  Non-believing friends

“I have no non-Christian relationships” confessed one of my evangelism coaching clients (shared with permission).

“I was taking an inventory of my personal relationships and discovered that I had surrounded myself entirely with Christians.”

In my experience, I could easily guess that many of these, if not all, would confess the same lack of relationships with people who do not walk with the Lord.

A Christian without an unchurched friend is like a dash of salt in the ocean: it doesn’t do anyone any good and, frankly, no one even knows it’s there. — Bill Tenny-Brittian, Hitchhiker’s Guide To Evangelism

Wilberforce realized that he had influence among his non-believing friends.  His awakening to faith did not destroy his prior relationships nor remove him from being an influence for Christ.

2. Prayer for his list of non believing friends

Wilberforce made a prayer list of friends whom he’d like to see following Jesus.

We might mentally agree to the the idea, but to actually make the list and use it may still be a challenge.

Here is one way to think through how to make this prayer list.

The idea is to get beyond the generic “I pray for Jose and Martha” and into more specific areas.

For example:

  • Give me eyes to see their spiritual thirst.
  • Give me opportunity to speak with them.
  • Give them a thirst, help me to see it.
  • Is God inviting me to spend a little more time with them?
  • What is the next “do” with them?  Call?  Coffee? Cookout?
  • Help them move another step closer to you.
  • Reveal yourself to them in undeniable ways.

3.  He looked for their spiritual thirst

Wilberforce wondered about how to have a conversation with them.

People are in different places in their spiritual journey.  As Wilberforce wrote each name, he pondered what might their next step be?

If they are hostile to God, how would he pray that they may start seeking God?

If they are seeking God, how can would he pray that they would talk with him about how he found God?

If they are studying the Bible in their search, he would like to pray that God’s word would speak.

In other words, Wilberforce seemed to pray in accordance with the work that God might be doing in their spiritual life already.

4.  Wilberforce listened for Guidance

He listened for God’s direction about when to speak of the church, when to speak of Christ, and even whom to add to that list of people to pray for.

He looked for those divine appointments.

He listened for spiritual thirst.

Sometimes, Wilberforce took the initiative with his conversation launchers.  Other times, he was sensitive to topics or conversational threads that could bridge to spiritual matters.

Enjoy reading the book.

amazing-grace-william-Wilberforce-MetaxasTo learn more about Wilberforce, I recommend this the biography: William Wilberforce: Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, by Eric Metaxas.

This is an affiliate link (I’ll get a few nickles) to the paperback version.  I’ll still get a few nickles if you purchase any other version of the book (like Kindle or audio)

Wilberforce image: In the Public Domain, Painting by John Russell

8 Lessons from My Church Shopping Experience

8 Church Hospitality Lessons from Church ShoppingIn the past 12 months, our family experienced being a church shopper.

We share some of first time visitor experiences

After a few months, we have found a church home, a new church development that is not yet public.  We are training our welcome teams from the start and buildling welcome and hospitality into our DNA.  Here are some lessons I learned from all 8 visits (I still have yet to write up two)

1.  It is hard to be a first time church visitor.

Even though I’ve been a follower of Jesus over 30 years, going through this experience of being the first time church visitor for my own family is harder than I thought.

In the last 20 years, I’ve been in a church leadership team and have some kind of status.  But visiting churches as a non-staff member looking for a place for our family to give its life away has been harder than I thought.

Your church needs to recall that it’s not easy to be church shopping as a Christian family, nor will it be easy for the unchurched to find their way in.

2.  Your churched visitor has criteria they bring.

We come with a list of criteria we look for in a church.

As followers of Christ, having planted two multi-cultural churches as an associate pastor, served in youth ministry, and involved in cross cultural missions, we discovered that we had a list of criteria that we measured a church against.

Though we liked our experience at one church, it simply didn’t match a lot of our criteria.

Visitors will come and go as they seek churches that match some of their critera.  There is not much that a church can do about the whims of such visitors, myself included.

3.  A working church website is important.

Please do whatever it takes to get your broken church website current and working correctly.

I ruled out a few churches to visit simply because their website had dysfunctional websites with broken links, poor navigation, and hard to find information.

If you have social media like Twitter and Facebook, please make sure you answer questions submitted in those mediums.

Yvon Prehn released her take on 5 Church Website Essentials here.

Don’t let your church website prevent your visitors from coming.  (Read this article from Church Marketing Sucks).

4.  Can I make a friend?

We visited one church 6 times over the course of 3 months.

Their worship service was exciting.  Their teaching was biblical.  Their mission was Christ centered.

But, we found no easy way to make a friend, connect with a group, or get involved in a volunteer service project.

Our children visited the youth group for 6-8 weeks and eventually decided to drop out with our permission.

We couldn’t figure out how to make a friend.

There was no space to form a friendship on Sundays.

There was no clear way to us as a visitor where we could go an make a friend.

We tried one Saturday event, and at the end of it, still had no friends.

Put effort into designing a natural way for your newcomers to start making friends.  You might like this resource on assimilation.

5.  Creating a culture of hospitality takes work.

If those teens at the front door had captured the hospitality vision, at least one of them who saw our awkward entrance attempt at the locked doors could have mentioned to us that the entrance door is around the corner.

At small churches, members could have easily welcomed us as visitors, but left us feeling left out.

It takes a hospitality vision in the entire church to help visitors avoid interesting moments like that.

This audio resource might help you.  Casting and recasting a welcome vision is an ongoing work that takes work from pastors and church leaders of influence.  It’s not set it and forget it.

6.  A visitor packet can be a great place to include a simple gospel outline.

Your website and even your church visitor packet can be a great place to communicate the basics of the gospel.

Though every sermon should have a clear connection to a gospel presentation, you may want to include a simple gospel outline in your visitor packet.

If I was an unchurched visitor looking at this visitor packet, you’d be giving me an opportunity to understand the core of what Christianity is about, what Jesus did for me, and who Jesus calls me to be.

I’ve seen packets that include statements of faith (for church shopping believers).

These are too confusing for an unchurched, unsaved person.  Most are full of theological jargon that make no sense to those outside of your stream of Christianity.

7.  Make it easy to fill out a connection card.

I did a mystery visit recently to one of the local area churches.  It was good visit and they do many of the hospitality things right.

As part of their welcome greeting from the front, I was asked to fill out a connection card, turn it in for a free gift.

But I forgot a writing utensil.  I had no pen, no pencil, and I wasn’t going to sign by pricking my finger for blood.

There were no pencils/pens within my reach, nor in a pew rack or chair pocket.

There was no friendship pad available for me to steal a pencil.

I never filled out the visitor card.

Walk into your sanctuary or worship space this weekend and see if your visitor would be able to access a pen or pencil to fill out a visitor card.

8.  Invite your first time visitors back.

At many places, we left as anonymous as we came.

The was no process to register my attendance, no card to fill out, or no attempt to tell me what next week’s sermon was about.

I will not receive a follow up letter in the mail to invite me to return.

I will not receive a follow up invitation to a special gathering for new comers.

I will have no way of knowing what sermon topic is coming the following week to give me a reason to consider coming back.

I think these churches missed an opportunity – an opportunity to invite us to come back next week.

Consider this short webinar on visitor assimilation and learn some ways to start putting a system in place to follow up with church visitors.

Let me ask you this

If you have been recently shopping for a church, is there a lesson you can share that would add to this list?  Please do in the comments.

Faith Story Number 4: The So What Story

One challenge to shortening a personal testimony is to get at this core question:

What difference has Jesus made in your life?

This is the “So what” story that is unique and personal to you.

Faith Story Number 4 in the series Four Stories Every Christian must known

It is easier to see an example than it is to describe.

Check out this video (shared here as well)

More than one So What Story

What difference has Jesus made in your life?

This question is not only applicable for the moment of your conversion.

Even if you grew up in church and always knew that you were a follower of Christ, there are examples of transformation in your life.

The So What story also applies to the ongoing work of the Jesus in your life by the Holy Spirit.

For example, I have been a follower of Jesus since 1985.

I was a 15 year old teenager that didn’t have a lot of life experience.  I grew up in a healthy household with parents who loved me.

There have been marvelous works of transformation in my life.

  • Forgive a severe betrayal when I was in my late 20s
  • A sense of purpose and destiny.
  • Healing damaged emotions for hurtful events.
  • Creation of a healthy marriage.
  • Adventures in living into God’s will for my life.
  • Despair transformed to gratitude and hope.

The So What Story has a simple outline


These stories have a basic before / after outline.

They are snippets that describe

  • Who you were before and who you are now.
  • What life was like before, and what life is like now.
  • What emotions you had before, and how they have been transformed.
  • The wounds you had in the past, and how they have been healed.
  • The addictions you struggled with and how you are experiencing victory now.

Before I met Jesus for the first time, I was searching for unconditional love.

Before I followed Jesus, I had no direction in my life.

Before I allowed Jesus to bring healing to my emotions, I lived in patterns defined by those experiences.

After I met Jesus, I found unconditional love.

After I followed Jesus, I found direction, purpose, and hope.

After I allowed Jesus to touch those wounded places, I experienced a indescribable joy and wholeness and new life.

You see them in the video above and in this video below.  As I watched this video, I was struck by the power of the cross.  Real lives changed by a real Jesus.

Can you reduce your testimony to two sides of a poster board?

Take the “So What” Story a Step further.

The two videos above capture the essence of a “So What” Story on two sides of a piece of cardboard.

What if you could reduce it to two words as in the video below:

What two words would you use to describe your transformation with Jesus?

I’ve experienced this life transformation first hand.

The label that Jesus changed for me:

  • Aimless to Directed
  • No Purpose to Purpose
  • Unable to Love Correctly to Beloved
  • Ignorantly Lost to Gratefully Found.

The So What story also answers this question:

Why is Jesus precious to you?

Jesus may be precious to you because He has forgiven you.

Jesus may be precious to you because He is guiding you in this life.

Jesus may be precious to you because He has healed you.

Jesus is Pastor, Savior, Friend, Healer, Redeemer, Friend, Bread of Life, Lord of All.

What image of Jesus speaks to you most deeply?

I bet there is one image of Jesus that speaks to you more than all the others.

That can help you answer the question that my friend Easum has asked:

What is it about your relationship with Jesus that your friend can’t live without?

What was your “So What Story”?

In the comment field, give a short summary (no more than 10 words) of the label transformation that Jesus worked in your life?

The Faith Story Series:


Of what value to you is your relationship with Jesus?

The more I explore the depths of that value, the meaning of that word, I notice something bubbling from inside of me.

I want to tell somebody.

Start here with this MP3 Download on Evangelism Training from the store ($10) to help you see where you need to grow.

It’s a 80 minute audio file that takes just a few minutes to download, but it may help you answer the question:

What can you do in the next 90 days to grow in your evangelism skills?