Each month, we revisit a series of posts called Guest Services Road Trip. We’ll travel the country from the comforts of our couches, interviewing leaders who are in the trenches of ministry. Do you have an idea for GSRT destination? Have a leader I need to talk to? Want the inside scoop on churches that seem to be doing this hospitality thing really well? Let’s talk.
Sandy Moore is the Minister of Guest Services at Stonegate Fellowship in Midland, Texas. Stonegate is one church that meets in three locations. They exist to create a path for lives to be completely transformed by the gospel. Their desire is that every person who attends Stonegate will connect to God and community, grow as a disciple, and be an influence everywhere they go.
What are the top three books you’ve read on the topic of guest services and/or volunteerism?
What does your training process look like for your Guest Services volunteers (initially and/or ongoing)?
When a new volunteer is ready to join our team, they will:
1. Attend Guest Services Orientation the first Sunday of the month. This is a great time for our new team members to bond and see their part in the big picture. This serves as the introduction to our plumb lines and culture of hospitality.
2. The week after orientation, they will shadow with a team lead in their specific area of service (cafe, parking, greeter, or usher). During this time, they see practically how we make every guest feel loved and significant from the street to the seat.
3. In week three and beyond, the new volunteer will serve on their own, with attention and affirmation from their leader.
Every Sunday morning and before every service, we have a 15 minute connect time where all volunteers gather with their team lead. This is a high energy moment to go over our plumb line of the month, communicate ongoing training tips, and tell stories of life change. The main purpose is team bonding and seeing our part in the big picture. This is the pep-rally before the big game where we get to celebrate with volunteers before they serve. Our connect time is where we drip vision.
How is your Guest Services Team structured (org chart, leadership pipeline, etc.)? Do you ever release Guest Services volunteers to lead in other ministries?
Our leadership pipeline is team member > shift leader > team leader. We are happy for our Guest Services leaders to lead in other teams, as long as it’s a non-Sunday area of responsibility.
Talk about your assimilation process. What specific steps do you have to move someone from first time guest to a follower of Jesus?
When a first time guest visits, we call them within 48 hours to welcome them and invite them to our Next Steps class for more information on our church culture. In Next Steps, they will discover all the ways to get connected: discipleship classes, community groups, missions, serving, etc. They will also have a chance to become a member if they’re interested.
For us, the pathway looks like this: first time guest > Next Steps Class > Community Groups or Discipleship Class > Serving > Leading > Multiplying.
Is the Guest Services Team a “silo ministry” at Stonegate? In other words, do other ministry areas view guest services as an essential part of their mission?
We recently broke out from being a silo. The best way for us to make guest services a big deal to our entire staff team was to communicate the heart of hospitality all the time. The lack of awareness empowers a silo, but communication breaks down walls and empowers understanding.
What is a challenge you’re currently facing on your Guest Services Team?
It’s summer time, which means mass exodus. It’s always hard to fully staff services to the standard I’d like in the summer.
What has been one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made in leading your team and/or implementing a guest services culture?
My biggest mistake has been assuming that my efficient processes are the best processes. Over time, I’ve learned to value my volunteers’ feedback when I present a new process. Some of them have been serving for more than a decade, and they are not interested in technology, automation, or change. Some just want to do things manually. I’ve had to learn that as long as the end result is the same, the way you get there really doesn’t matter, and that hill ain’t worth dying on.
How do you define success on a weekend…either personally or professionally?
I define a successful weekend when all of my volunteers can see beyond the tasks they’re doing and see the big picture of the Kingdom of God being advanced. When we have an awestruck reality of the eternal things, our guests see and feel the gospel through the way we serve them.
What is an idea you’d like to experiment with or implement over the next six months?
We currently have an information desk and an area to get connected to community groups in our foyer.
We are launching “Start Here” areas by every entrance for easier connection points. That’s similar to the first time guest tent idea, but we’re in West Texas, and the wind is crazy! Our Start Here areas will look more like a mobile coffee cart that can move indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. Start Here is the area for new guests to get a gift bag, fill out a connect card, take a campus tour if needed, and ask questions about getting connected.
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