Gather ’round, old and new volunteers! As with every single thing that exists in this world, things are updating. They’re becoming better and more effective. And though we might not have as many updates as Apple, Welcome Teams is about to launch a brand new culture handbook that will help make you and I more successful in how we serve on Sunday mornings!
Over the next several months, I will begin to throw in these new culture concepts intermittently, so that we still have blog pieces that help us become better Jesus-people, not just better church-people.
So, what do we want to accomplish as Welcome Teams? We simply want to create a positive lasting impression for everyone who comes through the doors. How do we do that?
Here are three questions we can ask ourselves at the end of a Sunday that will help us know whether we succeeded as a team:
1. Did I prioritize the guest?
Everyone has different priorities when they come to church. Some people arrive early because they want their favorite seats. Others come in to drop their kiddos off before running in to the message. And everything else in between. Whatever it is, we want to make sure that we prioritize the guests along the way.
For example, if the auditorium is overflowing with people and there are guests standing along the back walls, we should enjoy the opportunity to give up our seats for them – not for recognition, but because we want our guests to remember that there’s always a seat for them!
2. Did I anticipate their needs?
Let’s talk about the ladies’ restroom for a second. Men: AVERT YOUR EYES! Kidding – this is G-rated.
This is where our hospitality is truly tested! When women use the restroom, they may find themselves in need of things they don’t currently have with them. Or what if they have coffee breath? Or dry hands? Our restrooms are stocked with hygiene products, mints, and lotion to make them feel at home. In the same way, coffee provides the same homey comfort while bringing people together! If we’re only prepared to help guests with their faith struggles but not their normal-every-day struggles, did we really anticipate their needs?
3. Did I remove obstacles from their path?
To me, this might be the most difficult of them all because your brain has to be SO guest-centered that you’re not only anticipating what they need, but you’re removing potential obstacles they may run into (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Below are examples of each of these:
Physical: in the extra-humid months of the Texas summer, our air-conditioning produces excess condensation that drips onto our waxed and polished concrete floor. We all know that water on a slick floor is a recipe for pain, so assisting in keeping our lobby free of drips or spills is an excellent physical obstacle to look out for.
Mental: Everyone has experienced church differently in their past – some of those were good experiences, and some of them were…well…not ideal. One of the most popular questions that we get from those we invite to church is: “What’s the dress code?” Our response is, “We’re a come-as-you-are kinda place.” They’re afraid of judgement, too! We should try to walk a mental mile in the shoes of our guests so that we can ensure that nothing becomes an obstacle for them to know Jesus.
Emotional: Music, praise, worship, etc. looks different by culture, by generation, and by denomination. It can be really intimidating to know whether or not you should raise your hands, drum on the seat in front of you, or silently sway to the music. (There’s a hilarious Christian leader and comedian that’s written about that here!!) We shouldn’t make people feel bad or judge them on their level of faith by how they sing and worship because there’s no right way to do any of it! That’s between you and God, and we should protect that atmosphere.
Spiritual: As a church, we provide a temporary small group called Starting Point. It’s a place that allows you to ask questions and express your doubts while you start your journey to Jesus. Imagine if a newcomer said what they believed (or didn’t believe) and the group guffawed and rolled their eyes – ouch! We are all on different chapters of our life with Jesus, and our sensitivity should remove the obstacle of being “wrong” when we’re being vulnerable with each other.
We should not make it difficult for those who are turning to God.Acts 15:19
That’s what we’re about: creating a lasting impression so that the church doesn’t make it difficult for people to turn to Jesus. And these three questions are starter fluid on the conversation that will help us to do that!