We’re in week four of a series called Taking the Guesswork Out Of Guest Services. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader of a church with no guest services team, a lagging guest services team, a firing-on-all-cylinders team, or anywhere in between, we’re going to talk about the factors that make your team great. Submit your questions for future weeks in the comments below.

If you’re not a pastor or ministry leader and this sort of guest services nerd talk bores the mess out of you, you might want to watch this video of a baby bear sneezing.

Guest services will live and die with one person. 

Sure, we’ve talked about building an organic culture within your church. I believe in equipping the saints and empowering your team to lead well. But when it comes down to it, there will have to be one person who owns, champions, and protects the guest services culture within your church. That’ll be the guy (or girl) who defines the language, sets the tone, and keeps a close eye on the final goal, which is to take away every offense except the gospel.

But before we talk about why that person is important, let’s look at some other people that need to factor pretty high up on the first impressions org chart:

  • Your lead pastor. Yes, I know that his bookshelves are filled with commentaries, not titles like The Starbucks Experience. I recognize that if people walk the aisle every Sunday, he may not care what the walk from their car looked like. But for your guest services team to succeed, the main guy has to be on board. That means you need to cast vision up. Let him see why it’s a big deal. Make sure he understands that when the sermon starts in the parking lot, his sermon will be better. (And for the record, I’m blessed with a customer service specialist-in-chief. Pastor J.D. gets this and empowers us to make it happen.) Culture starts at the top. You’ll get the win when he gets the why.
  • Your staff team. Whether you have one part time worship leader or a staff that would rival the attendance of a rural church, they need to understand that first impressions is everyone’s job. A great first impressions culture makes for a great children’s ministry. Understanding how we address guests from the stage will pay huge dividends for your announcement guy. Organic hospitality has a deep reach into your small groups ministry. If you have a formalized first impressions training, it should be a core requirement for your staff team to attend at least once, and then drip that vision constantly.
  • Your key volunteer leaders. Again, regardless of whether they’re charged with guest services, kids ministry, or the stewardship of the church finances, people need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish. If folks think you’re handing out Keurig machines at the First Time Guest tent, they’re going to call “foul” on your consumer culture (and rightfully so). However, if they can see how a strong first time guest culture benefits twenty-year members, they’ll be more likely to support the vision and action steps necessary to help you win.

So the question remains: who should own it? If you’ve stuck with me through the first four weeks of this series, it might be you. If you have the heart and passion for this ministry, you might be the one. Whether you’re a high capacity volunteer who stumbled across this blog or a paid staff member who’s had their eyes opened to this need for your church, this might be the path that God is leading you down.

But if you’re going to own it, it’s time for you to build it. It’s time to put the leaders and structures in place to get it off the ground. And that’s what we’ll talk about.

Next week.

Check out the entire series: