We’re in week five 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. Have a question? Submit ideas for future weeks in the comments below.

Structure your team for future success.

One of the challenges of a first impressions / guest services team is knowing exactly how to build the team. Some churches apply the generic label of “greeter” to anyone who is responsible for hospitality. While there are strengths in that, one of the drawbacks is that generic titles often breed generic results.

That’s why I recommend that you break your team down into specialty subteams, and assign your volunteers to one particular team so they become professional practitioners in that area. Here’s how to make that happen:

  1. Consider your context. If you’re a church with an attendance of 100 but parking spaces for five times that, you may not need a full scale parking team. On the flip side, a couple of our campuses have parking areas that are spread out for blocks around the church. Those are the places where we need more of a directional presence. And parking is just one example of many. What needs do your particular context dictate? Start with a whiteboard and a brainstorming strategy and go from there.
  2. Think outside in. Regardless of whether you need a parking team (to draw on the above example), don’t make the mistake of only staffing inside the walls. When we do so, we’re still catering to the needs of insiders. Think about it: someone who has never been to your church needs the subtle assurance that you’ve thought through the experience. Seeing a volunteer outside, proactively engaging your guests, will do wonders in setting them up for the experience to come.
  3. Decide on a schedule. There are as many ways to schedule volunteers as there are volunteers. We adhere to an “attend one, serve one” strategy: volunteers serve for one service every week, and they attend the other. Our Summit en Español campus only hosts one service per Sunday, so their volunteers are on a one Sunday per month schedule. Still other churches have volunteers serve once every few weeks, but they serve every service all weekend long. Regardless of the schedule you choose, make sure you have an adequate presence at all times during the service…not just the beginning or end.
  4. Put leaders in place. Don’t try to lead your guest services team solo. The old adage is that Jesus invested in twelve followers. You probably shouldn’t try to be more ambitious than the Son of God. Our goal is a leader over every subteam of 8-12 people. In addition, each shift (service time) has a shift leader, and each venue has a director. Multiplicity of leadership means that no one person shoulders the burden alone. It also means that you have key people that you can invest in so that they can continue passing your vision down to their teams.

Check out the entire series: