Published: 7 years ago

Hospitality is Just a Catalyst

If you’ve been reading this blog for oh, say 42 seconds, you know that I’m a big fan of guest services within the church. I want to make sure our guests – especially those walking onto one of our campuses for the first time – are loved, cared for, and positive we want them to return.

We put a crazy amount of time, energy, and resources into creating that type of environment for our guests. I think about it to almost a psychotic level. (My wife is not a big fan of visiting other churches with me, because I’m constantly either critiquing them or stealing good ideas.)

Putting it mildly, first impressions are a big deal.

But they’re not the deal. If your designed experience begins and ends with hospitality, you’ve missed the point. If you bill yourself as a friendly church…but it doesn’t move beyond that…you’ve failed. If your systems for parking and seating are flawless but only lead to a dead end, then you need to hang up your orange vest and call it a day.

Hospitality has to lead somewhere. It must be a jumping off point. It might be the thing that initially delights and surprises, but you can’t keep up that cycle of bells and whistles for long.

Hospitality has to be a catalyst. It has to move people from here to there.

It has to be the front door for the gospel.

If we’re not being gospel-centered in our treatment of our guests, we’re going to have a hard time centering them on the gospel. On the flip side, if we view the brewing of the world’s best cup of coffee in our lobbies as the ultimate end, then we’re wasting our time.

What is it about your hospitality that has become an end unto itself?


(photo credit: Brett Seay)

  1. Todd Conard says:

    Speaking of coffee, curious about what happened to the coffee bar in the lobby at BCAM?

    • Danny says:

      Good question, Todd. The webpage that we had up explaining the change has expired, but here’s the content:

      Good To The Last Drop?
      (no really: the Very. Last. Drop.)

      If you found your way to this page, it’s probably because you picked up a card at the Coffee Bar in Brier Creek North this weekend. Either that, or you’re just typing random addresses into Google. Weird.

      Regardless of how you got here, you’re here. So here’s the big news: effective December 11th & 12th, the coffee bar at Brier Creek North is shutting down. Closing up shop. Brewing the last bean.

      You probably have questions. Lots and lots of questions. And while we may not have lots and lots of answers, we do have a few. Let’s give ’em a spin:

      Why the java jettison?
      In short, we want to enhance worship and maximize space. As you’ve noticed, our North lobby is cramped and crowded. Throngs of caffeine seekers make it a bit more so. Closing the coffee bar makes sense as we make room for more guests.

      How does this enhance worship?
      Let’s be clear: coffee in hand doesn’t make you a bad worshipper (although it may mean that you burn yourself if you get charismatic). But the focus of our worship should be Jesus, not coffee. We want to make sure that we’re helping people show up ready to worship, not show up and throw elbows at the coffee bar.

      Admit it: you hate coffee (and thereby coffee lovers).
      Nothing is further from the truth. (This webpage was written by a self-proclaimed coffee addict.) The purpose of our coffee bar has always been to help people facilitate relationships. We know that a 180 pound man can feel comfortable behind an 8 ounce cup of coffee. It seems to be easier to talk to people when there’s something in our hands.

      But in Brier Creek North, it’s become less about relationships and more about jockeying for position in an already crowded lobby. That’s not enhancing relationships; that’s frustrating people.

      So are you shutting down all coffee bars at all campuses?
      Not at all. On campuses where the coffee flows more freely (translated: bigger lobby space), we’ll continue to offer coffee for now. As a matter of fact, Brier Creek South will percolate as usual.

      That makes sense. I’ll slip by Brier Creek South, grab some coffee, and worship at North.
      Now you’re just being silly. Don’t cheat the system. Consider switching to Brier Creek South. There’s more space, plenty of coffee, and you’re creating room for guests in North.

      Better yet, consider serving as a volunteer on our First Impressions, Summit Kids, or Production Teams. We have coffee (and food!) every week in our Volunteer Headquarters.

      Can I brew my own and bring it from home?
      Absolutely. Even better, swing by Starbucks and invite your barista to the Summit. (We have inviter cards at the info table for that exact purpose.)

      What happens to the Coffee Bar space? Please tell me we’re installing a gospel-centered jacuzzi.
      You wish. Stick around…we think you’ll like the changes.

  1. […] to connect here to there. Serving our guests is the right thing and the good thing to do, but it can’t be an end unto itself. If we’re kind to the waitress when she shows up at church but we talk down to her when […]

  2. By Danny Franks | Beauty or Utility? on July 11, 2016 at 7:03 am

    […] But there’s a better and greater purpose behind guest services, and that’s beauty. Beauty is where we go beyond utility. It’s where formulas form something that can’t be measured in stats and spreadsheets. The beauty of guest services is that it serves as a sign post to the gospel. Our planning and strategizing and vision casting and volunteer recruiting may indeed reduce combustion points and increase efficiency, but that shouldn’t be the reason we do it. Guest services should ultimately point to the kindness of Jesus. Our hospitality should be a catalyst. […]

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