I visited a church this weekend.
No one said hello.
Even though we waited around for nearly 20 minutes after the service was over.
No one said hello.
I even held a gift bag for first-time visitors in my hand. Yet no one said hello.
That should not happen.
Church Visitors will show up.
God will keep bringing visitors to your church.
Are you prepared for them?
Is your church welcoming? Is your church not welcoming?
Why did that happen to me this Sunday?
More importantly, how can your church make sure that doesn’t happen?
Wise church leaders will do some advance preparation related to hospitality in anticipation of new visitors.
Many wise leaders of church hospitality teams know that a regular review of your systems is a good way to make sure things flow smoothly.
Inertia and inefficiency always creep in, and churches are no different.
Your systems and processes for welcoming visitors can always be improved, and decaying systems can be refreshed.
Do a regular review of your church hospitality
No matter what your role is, you can have influence:
- Senior Pastor
- Head of the Greeter / Ushers.
- The leader of your church hospitality ministry
- Chair of the committee that oversees your church welcome ministry.
Do a regular review of your church hospitality systems and processes.
Your systems and processes are 1 of at least 4 Variables in Church Hospitality.
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 . . .
I suggest quarterly, or in connection with any kind of big event that your church is launching that is designed to increase the number of first-time visitors.
I was with a “tall-steeple” church this past weekend and they do a brief review every Sunday of their hospitality experience.
Example of a review
In a church hospitality coaching conversation, I led a hospitality ministry leader in thinking through various areas related to the visitor experience. I somewhat followed a flowchart in chapter 7 of my e-book on how to welcome church visitors.
It was in essence a brief review of their systems.
The fuzzy lines of their hospitality ministry were too big for them to see clearly. Having an outside coach walk them through a logical process of review helped them discover a bunch of
“we shoulds. . . ” and “we need tos . . . “
In answering my questions, the leader eventually landed on
“Our entryway seems uninviting and cold. Sharp perpendicular lines, dark colors, and just cold.”
“What could you do to fix that?” I asked.
“We should . . . . .” and they rattled off a list of projects that were not quite clear.
“What does done look like?”
They told me what they visualized in their head, a little more specific than a “we should”
“What can you do in the next 36 hours to move that project towards done?”
They noted some next action steps.
A little burst of creativity, simply because of the coaching process.
We talked through other areas and repeated the same questions:
- What can you do to fix that?
- What does “done” look like?
- What can you do in the next 36 hours to move that towards done?
Specific example: due to a renovation, the main entrance to the church had changed to a different doorway.
By doing the review, this leader noted that their new entrance didn’t have a sign marking it as an entrance.
The regular attenders knew the front door had moved.
That would be fixed immediately.
Potential friction removed.
The Fruit of a Review.
One fruit of the review is to discover areas of potential friction (that which makes your visitors feel uneasy, or even your volunteers feel uneasy) and remove it.
This review simply removed some rough edges that might make a visitor feel confused, disoriented, or a little uneasy.
Now, their solutions won’t magically keep new visitors.
These were some simple fixes to make their entrance appear more inviting and welcoming.
It was an area of incremental improvement.
By taking the time (that conversation lasted about 1 hour) to do a review, this leader had several action steps of incremental improvement.
Each time your team does a review of its systems,
- Tweak what has broken
- Think of what might be missing and provide it
- Think of how to improve your welcome and greeter process.
Consider a Hospitality Coaching Call
If your team feels stuck and wants to break through, consider a conversation with me like the one above.
This fee-based coaching call can help you and your church break out of that sense of being stuck.
Read more here.
Chris, you mentioned how the church members knew that the door had been moved, but that the guests did not know this. This is all too common. Churches often operate on “tribal knowledge.” They know where classes are, or bathrooms, or when kids go to kids’ worship, and they forget that no one coming in may have a clue about any of these things.
Reviewing ministries is always a good thing. It would be great to get “scientific” feedback on our guests’ worship experience.