Published: 6 years ago

The “Guesswork” Series Begins

Today begins a new series that I’m calling Taking the Guesswork Out Of Guest Services. Well actually, today is the introduction to that series, because that way I get a whole extra week to tease you about it and / or annoy you. Win win.

Over the next several weeks we’re going to explore guest services for churches who don’t have guest services. Or churches who want to get better at guest services. Or churches that think guest services is a new fangled 21st century invention of the devil and will probably interfere with pipe organ practice.

Here’s where I’m heading:

  • Culture: how do you kill a bad one? How do you create a good one? How do you tweak a sorta-healthy one?
  • Vision: where do you start it? Who owns it? Who sets the standard for it? How do you spread around more of it?
  • Leadership: who’s the head honcho? What role does the lead pastor have? And what do you do if he’s agin it?
  • Staffing: who makes the best volunteers? Who needs to be banned from the team? And where do the good people come from?

There are an ever-growing number of great authors, thinkers, and researchers in this area. My goal is to curate a lot of that content so that we can start speaking the same language. Meanwhile, I’d like your questions. Take the four categories above – feel free to add your own – and let me know what keeps you up at night (related to first impressions. I don’t wanna hear about your deep dish sausage and anchovy pizza.).

You can add your comment below or hit me up on the Make Contact tab above, which’ll take you directly to my email machine.

We crank this puppy next week.


View all posts in this series:


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  1. ctkcharlotte says:

    I don’t have any questions to add, but can tell you I am pumped for this to kick-off next week! I will be doing training with our Guest Experience Team and have been praying for God to lead me to what exactly I should be teaching them. I think I am going to get A LOT out of this! 🙂

    Michelle Yorick
    Christ the King Church – Charlotte

  2. Bob Adams says:

    I’m taking your points one at a time, Danny. First, there needs to be a culture of hospitality – the kind the New Testament talks about, a “love of strangers.” It doesn’t start at the top and go down, or at the bottom and go up. It has to permeate your entire organization, with everyone being a part of the culture. You’ve got to expect Guests, and then treat everyone like a Guest.

  3. Chris says:

    What keeps us guessing:
    Culture: protecting, enhancing, and maintaining our awesome church culture, without crushing innovation to move the church forward?

    Vision: the vision is the heart of the House and must always trump detail. But we must learn to do the details and rise above the details. How to do what and when?

    Leadership: organizational communication is a challenge. Meaning, not using the flow of leadership “chain of command” can cause confusion/tension, but we want to avoid feeling too “corporate” cause we are a church. How do we balance that tension?

    Staffing: who do we select for leadership and who do we need to de-select from leadership? (Lay leaders: coordinators, directors, etc.)

  4. Bob Adams says:

    The vision of your Guest Services ministry is the same as the vision of your church – i.e., there shouldn’t be competing visions. Chris said it well “vision should be the Heart of the House.” It’s lived out by everyone on the team. Delivering the vision? Yeah, it will be complex. But the vision itself should be pure, simple, and lived out with clarity 24/7.

    • Danny says:

      Bob, I agree 100%. If guest services doesn’t work organically, it’ll never work mechanically. Programmed hospitality smells like…well…programmed hospitality. It has to be an overflow of the DNA that’s already built in to culture.

  5. Bob Adams says:

    The point leadership of the Guest Services team should be staff-supported at all levels, and depending on the size of the church, could be a paid staff role. There are too many variables as to what that looks like to go into here, but somewhere passion, calling, giftedness, and humbleness comes together to provide the right mix for the job. That being said, churches of all sizes would benefit from having the right leaders in the right roles, regardless of their staff position. For example, I’m a Guest Services Coordinator at Elevation Church’s Uptown Campus, and am considered “staff” even though I am a volunteer. The pastor’s role? #1 advocate, but not in a hands-on involvement. As to what to do when senior leadership is neutral or even opposed to a Guest Services mindset, a gentle course of education is called for, starting with an understanding of the culture of hospitality as seen in the NT admonitions to be hospitable and the “one anothers.”

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