At the beginning of each year, many churches form new church hospitality committees or relaunching a tired committee with new people.
They want to update or infuse their church hospitality program with new ideas.
One common question that I get, particularly from smaller churches that have ignored this issue for some time is:
How do we start a church hospitality program?
I already touched lightly on this subject of starting a church hospitality committee, but want to develop it a little more:
1. Get organized: Form a team.
Form a team of people according to your church’s practice.
It might be elected members, or it might be an active member of the church’s governing body with the ability to personally recruit the entire team.
As you pull the team together, consider the gift mix. You’ll want a team of people who love to welcome church visitors and who desire to see your church grow.
The first thing to determine is your ministry focus. For the most part, I recommend that the church hospitality committee focus on the welcome experience that people have when they visit your church the first few times.
2. Develop your vision.
Spend some of your first meeting or first few meetings answering the big question
Why bother with church hospitality?
Hospitality is not evangelism — but organized friendliness. Hospitality is welcoming the visitor and helping them experience God.
Try to get clear on the big picture of what hospitality ministry affects in your church’s growth and why your team should be spending time helping others to get that vision.
True leaders are so captured by the vision that when they share it with others, people will want to help you fulfill it.
3. Spend time reading and visiting
In your initial start-up phase, spend time reading books on church hospitality practices.
Or read this post on 10 Influential Church Hospitality Books.
Make it your goal to learn from some of the other churches in your area by visiting them.
As you visit, take the time to reflect on your experience and that will help you develop empathy for your church visitors.
4. Implement Baby Steps along the way
Take the time to start looking at your Church Hospitality practices.
You might want to pick up a copy of How To Welcome Church visitors which will give you a diagram of visitor flow and help you start to think through significant areas of ministry.
Basically, you’ll want to do a church hospitality review and then find one area that you want to fix in your system.
You might want to tackle:
- Launch a Post Service Reception
- Take a church hospitality audit (Free Download)
- Launch a greeter ministry
- Setup a training meeting.
5. Dream the vision with your pastor.
In many places, the pastor may not be on the church hospitality committee.
However, it is important that the pastor regularly cast the vision for welcome in a congregation.
As such, be intentional about communicating with the pastor and seeking out their advice and wisdom.
Invite your pastor to be part of the opening meetings to help develop, cast, and share vision. The pastor may not need to be involved in the nuts and bolts of committee activity, but connected enough around vision.
6. Develop a Bible study on Church Hospitality
Consider spending time as a team developing a bible study on the ministry of hospitality.
Choose these Church Hospitality Verses from Scripture and look at them through the filter of welcoming church visitors.
You can use this bible study
- as an email devotional for your first time volunteers,
- as vision casting reminders
- as a tool to grow your own understanding
7. Develop your Visitor Communication Pieces
Part of helping move visitors along the process to repeat visitors, to regular involvement and then to membership involves some critical communication pieces.
Spend time developing or redeveloping:
- connection cards
- visitor welcome packet
- What are the easy low commitment next steps your visitor might take
- Post Visit greeting letter from the pastor inviting them to take a next step.
8. Pick a place to start and implement
Most importantly, pick an area in your hospitality process and spend time developing your action plans on how to address what is not working:
- Post Service Reception
- Visitor Welcome Center
- Greeter Organization
- Building and Grounds
Do you need help with relaunching a church hospitality committee?
I offer several items to help you with developing your church hospitality committee.
Over at the EvangelismCoach.org store, I have several products for immediate download or on DVD that you might find helpful:
- How to Welcome Church Visitors (ebook)
- Church Greeters 101 (ebook)
- Cast the Vision for Hospitality (Download MP3)
- Church Hospitality Review (Download MP3)
- Break the Barriers DVD set (4 DVD set aimed at helping you identify and remove barriers).
A personal coaching call
Another service that I offer church hospitality is some personalized coaching.
This is a one time phone conversation.
Usually, I spend time on the phone with your committee, up to 90 minutes, where I help you trouble shoot and develop some action plans. Read more about that here.
The Get Started Program for Hospitality Leaders
I have a six week personalized coaching process that can help you get started. You’ll learn what problems to look for, even if they are invisible.
What is your say?
If you were helping a church start a hospitality committee, where would you suggest they start?