Ever been someplace where your host made you feel like a million bucks? The place you were visiting acted like they knew you, they cared you were there with them and they were glad to have you.
Or what about this? Ever been someplace where you felt like an inconvenience? I have. It is the pits to have no one even care that you are at their establishment spending money, engaging a service or whatever it is they have to offer.
Why is this? Shouldn’t be that way, should it?
Hospitality is the one place where you as the church have the opportunity to touch people, to be real, to look them in the eyes and for them to feel something about the church. Hospitality is less about function and more about feeling and atmosphere.
Inside the Rethinking Easter: From Big Event to Big Impact Jonathan Hardy and Jen Obremski do one entire video on this subject of hospitality, specifically gearing up to Easter. Take a look.
I would recommend the church do everything it can to have nine roles of hospitality in place for Easter.
In fact, I would target to have them in place two weeks out from Easter. That can be your first dry run. Then by Palm Sunday your volunteers have a half of a clue of what they should be doing. By Easter they are game-on.
Before you start on the journey of creating a culture of hospitality at your church you need to define what a “win” is for your volunteers. How do you want guests to feel when they are with you? Most churches would say they want guests to feel genuinely welcomed, to feel they matter.
These same churches want people to sincerely be friendly before, during and AFTER the service, friendly to everyone including guests, as well as all the regular folks.
To this end, here are the nine critically important roles to have in place for Palm Sunday, Easter and beyond.
1. Entrance to the Parking Lot Hosts
Almost no churches do this. Therefore, you should. This separates those churches serious about expressing happiness that guests have come from those that do not. These hosts will smile, wave, hold up a fun welcome sign and certainly be excited about the day and the church. These people can get wild and crazy, jump up and down and engage their bodies in welcoming everyone. No dead-beats allowed!
2. Parking Lot Hosts
These hosts are NOT there to park cars. They are there to smile and make people feel good about their decision to come to church this day. They may help guide traffic but their biggest responsibility is to reinforce peoples’ decisions to come to church. When appropriate always help single moms or families with children get out of their cars and on their way to the building. Whenever they see guests, these hosts invite the guests to the Connect Center after church.
3. Sidewalk Hosts
To state the obvious, these folks stand on the sidewalks and greet everyone walking from the parking lot to the building. They can be positioned by Guest Parking and can offer the church’s guest packet to those who park in guest parking, always inviting the guests to the Connect Center after service for coffee and goodies.
4. Exterior Door Hosts (a.k.a. Greeters)
These hosts are regularly opening doors for everyone. They are to help generate smiles on the faces of those walking through the door. They are to create expectancy of what God is about to do that day in church.
5. Lobby Hosts
These hosts are always on the lookout for guests, for people who come through the doors and stand, starring around. The Lobby Hosts take parents and children to their classrooms to check-in. These hosts answer questions and find answers. These hosts invite guests to the Connect Center after service.
6. Welcome Center/Info Desk Hosts
These hosts have all the answers … or at least know where to get all the answers. They will be a frequent first-stop for guests who are serious about checking out the church. These hosts will always take guests to exactly where the guests want to go, i.e. the auditorium, children’s check-in, etc. No pointing! Guests are invited to the Connect Center after service.
7. Auditorium Door Hosts
If the church has bulletins these good people smile, welcome guests and regulars, and offer bulletins.
8. Auditorium Hosts (a.k.a. Ushers)
These hosts help people find seats. They smile all the time. They interface with guests. And of course, they take up the offering … smiling all the time! 🙂 When guests are identified, the Auditorium Hosts always invite the guests to the Connect Center after service.
9. Connect Center (Post-Service) Hosts
These good folks are stationed at a meet and greet space – The Connect Center – in the lobby after church. They offer refreshments to the guests, give a brief overview of the church and why it exists. Tours of even the smallest of buildings can be offered. They ask questions of the guests and make sure all contact information is acquired.
While recruiting for each of these host positions, a church needs to think of them in terms of being “Hospitality Navy Seals.” They are the best of the best. These folks have the best open and outgoing personalities. They are over-the-top friendly and you trust them to represent you and the church very well. These “Seals” are exemplary in their display of care of the guests.
By the way, make sure every host in every position has a lanyard with their first name large enough to read and maybe include their pic, as well.
Frequently I am asked,
“If we can’t do all of these nine which would you suggest to start with?”
Good question! I would say to start with these first off: 4 – 8 – 2 – 9 – 6. Then get on to 1 – 3 – 5 – 7 as soon as possible.
If your church will give attention to creating the culture of hospitality you know God wants for you and the church, you will see more and more people “feel” like they want to come back. They sense there is something special about this place …
… And it is special because you have been intentional in making it that way. The presence of the Lord is all over the building/property and in the service. You have prayed for it.
So have at it. Create the best of the best of the best in hospitality for your guests this Easter. Then continue it and improve it in the weeks and months following.
[NOTE: With Easter around the corner, there’s no better time to refine your hospitality process. In Rethinking Easter: From Big Event to Big Impact, you get free access to an entire strategy that will help you increase the amount of Easter visitors coming to your church and who will return to your church in the weeks that follow.]