A Easter cartoon I shared on my Facebook Page and Pinterest has gone haywire. It’s not my cartoon, but it certainly generated likes, tweets, and repins and reshares. I laughed a little too hard when I saw this cartoon from Tim Davis (leadershipJournal.net/cartoons). If you like it, share it. [Read more…] about Friday Finds April 18 2014 Reading for Inspiration
I love answering reader questions.
I usually get to answer right away, and sometimes they are such great questions that I want to share them with you all, with permission
I thank you so much for giving me ideas on how to improve my hospitality department.
I am in a small church and the hospitality department its only 6 of us.
Is it ok to have the refreshments two Sundays a month or every Sunday after service.
Why bother with coffee?
I teach that your small church should have a small reception after a morning service.
Larger churches may already have this built into the their structure, but I keep encountering smaller churches that wrestle with this question, mostly because they don’t get many visitors, or they have budget considerations.
How often does your church have visitors?
Then I’d recommend every Sunday.
The outreach idea behind this reception is to create a context where your church visitors can get to know you.
They may not stay for the reception, but you’ve at least made it available.
Ministry with visitors can happen, such as leading a visitor into a relationship with Christ (read about it), or allowing the visitor more time to learn more about your ministries and mission.
When we visited a church reception for a few weeks, it lead to some new friendships when someone chose to invite us to Sunday school.
The Sunday morning worship is usually a one-way experience where your visitor is consuming the experience.
A reception after the service allows this to become a two way experience.
For your church, this reception should be a vital part of your outreach.
Your coffee time doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as waters, juices, and crackers.
I recommend every Sunday because it’s part of the welcome mission of the church.
If your church doesn’t get a whole lot of visitors, then there may be other issues to work on.
Submit Your Question
If you have a question about a hospitality practice, feel free to ask me a question.
Do so via this form, or in the comment field below.
I’ve updated the free church greeter training videos for 2014.
Some of the videos I first recorded in 2009 now look awful by today’s standards.
Technology has improved.
I’ve added new ones as well.
By signing up specifically for this list, I’ll send you 10 videos for training church greeters.
They are free and will come to you by email every 3 days for the next 30 days. [Read more…] about 10 Free Church Greeter Training Videos
In my first church, we chose October 31 as a safe alternative to Halloween. We planned all sorts of children’s games, candy giveaway, costume contest, and all around fun. We mobilized lots of volunteers to run the games and our small church had a tremendous party every year.
Our Harvest Party (we called it) celebrated some of the fun traditions of Halloween, without the scary costumes and without the occult overtones associated with the date.
More and more churches will choose a Halloween Outreach to open up their doors and provide their community a safe alternative to knocking on doors. You might have done the same. You hope that residents in your community will bring their children to enjoy an awesome night of fun.
If you host only church families and have not made your community aware of this, then you need to change your plans and find last minute ways to get the word out about your Halloween alternative or Harvest Party.
If you are not thinking about reaching your community and using this event in your church, then you need to open up your hearts to your community. Your church is too inward focused.
Are you preparing for guests at Halloween?
Are members of your planning team thinking of church hospitality issues to welcome your visitors during your Halloween Outreach?
Are your facilities ready?
- Does your exterior lighting work?
- Do your church signage help people navigate your church building?
- Do your church bathrooms make your mother proud?
- Take a quick hospitality audit.
Are your volunteers ready?
- Have you recast a vision to connect with the stranger who will come?
- Have you reminded people to be friendly with people they don’t know?
- Are your volunteers ready to make small talk with all the visitors?
What will your guest experience that night at your Halloween Outreach?
Will your church members take the initiative to make meaningful small talk and make a connection?
Or will your church members simply let them be? That’s a nice way of saying “Ignore them.”
Have fun and offer ministry
Consider setting up a prayer station as one of the booths. Offer prayer ministry with people and families that might seek it out.
Equip your prayer booth with literature about the church and promotional items about the next sermon series.
Have appropriately trained prayer ministers there to offer prayer with those who seek it out.
You might have the chance to talk with people in a safe 1-1 context about their faith journey, so be sure your ministry leaders are equipped to talk with people about what it means to follow Jesus.
Maybe in some localities, it might be possible to finish the night with a bonfire. You can sing a few songs and share a short non-pushy devotional about being a follower of Jesus. Check with your local area about rules for bonfires.
What happens next?
One thing that our church failed to do when I was there was to use this Harvest Party to invite people to a meaningful sermon series the following Sunday. We invited people to church, but I don’t recall anyone coming back.
As I have reflected on that problem, I have come to realize that people have important stuff to do on Sunday. Their stuff is more important than attending our church (after all, they don’t go to church).
If we can present a sermon series that starts the following Sunday that would be important to them, then there is a greater likelihood that they will rearrange their schedule and come.
Over and over, I have seen in my own life that when I invite people to a new sermon series, I have better success than a simple invitation to church. The sermon series answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Use your Halloween Community outreach to promote your new Sunday Sermon series and maybe even some of your Thanksgiving and Christmas programming.
The point is, plan ahead and create a “Come Back” event that your visitor might consider rearranging their Sunday schedule to attend.
Prepare for your Halloween Outreach
Your hospitality needs to shine during your Halloween Outreach. A good welcome experience will increase the likelihood of attending your next sermon series. Your guests should experience a good welcome when they come on Sunday as well.
I’ve put an ebook together to help you review your hospitality systems in preparation for your Halloween Outreach and your comeback event. It’s good for all seasons of the church year. You might want to acquire your copy to prepare for your Christmas and Thanksgiving program.
What makes for a great leader of a church hospitality team?
Or, what makes a great leader of the church greeter team?
From my readers, I regularly hear:
- How do I get greeters motivated?
- How do I get more volunteers to care about the vision?
If you are a leader of church hospitality committee, or the leader of the church greeter team, you have likely faced this problem.
What does it take to lead a volunteer ministry team in the area of church hospitality?
Recently, our leadership team is reading The Way of the Shepherd: 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People.
In chapter 3, I picked up three really important principles from one of those secrets that could apply to leading a church hospitality team.
1. Develop a sense of belonging.
There is a difference between recruiting a person to do a task, and getting a person on YOUR team.
You want people to feel part of your team. You want people to be proud to serve in this ministry.
You want to be the type of leader that
- people can believe in and trust,
- volunteers want to contribute their best efforts
- your team proudly serves with their skills and loyalty.
That sense of belonging in an intangible characteristic that a great leader must develop in their team.
Be that type of leader that facilitates a sense of belonging.
2. Constantly promote the values of your ministry.
You want people who take ownership of the values and purpose of your hospitality ministry.
The only way to do that is to be incessant in talking about the vision of your hospitality ministry.
Jesus constantly spoke about the Kingdom of God.
The lead pastor of a church I served in Richmond constantly reminded us that our purpose was to “gather the nations to worship Christ.”
What are your core values as a hospitality or greeter ministry? For example
- Visitors are a gift from God
- Every visitor shall experience a genuine welcome
- Hospitality serves the evangelistic mission of the church.
As the leader of the team, it is your task to constantly reinforce your ministry values.
3. Leave your mark on your team.
As a ministry team leader, you likely have a passion for hospitality ministry.
You care about the visitors who come to your church. You want them to experience the best welcome possible. You desire that every visitor God brings will be welcomed and find a home for their personal spiritual growth.
You carry the value of hospitality as one of the core values of your church.
At some point, you will need to train your replacement.
At some point, you might be called to another ministry, or even to another location.
When you leave, will you have left your mark on your team?
My father was a tremendous leader in his career field. When I attended his retirement celebration, I listened to long term employees share their experiences of my dad. I listened to their expressions of loyalty and dedication to the values my father demonstrated.
Recently, my father and I encountered several former employees. Many commented how they miss my father’s leadership. He had left his mark upon them (almost to the detriment of the next leader who had to work hard to establish their own leadership).
Be that type of leader who leaves their mark on their team.
Each leader functions in a unique context with a different mix of volunteers.
- What steps can you take in the next 30 days to cultivate a sense of belonging in your ministry team? OR
- What steps can you take in your next training meeting to remind your greeter volunteers of your ministry values? OR
- What can you do this weekend to remind your volunteers about the value of their role?
I once visited my friend’s church in a Chicago suburb.
They had all the right church hospitality systems:
- Smiling church greeters at the door,
- Friendly conversation.
- Staffed information table.
These factors helped me feel warmly welcomed as a first time visitor and made a great first impression.
Sadly, that warm feeling didn’t last beyond the lobby.
They were sabotaged! [Read more…] about The Church Greeters were Sabotaged!