We are not a waiting people.
We don’t like to wait. We’re not hard-wired for it. Whether it’s DMV lines or Disney rides, test results or Taco Bell drive throughs, waiting is not something that comes easy. We don’t like to be inactive, because we feel like we’re not producing what we ought to.
Which is why serving on a guest services team can be so hard for waiters. Because guest services is largely a waiting game. We wait in an empty parking lot for the first guest to show up. We wait at an exit door for the last guest to leave. And during the service – when people people are soaking up a sermon – we wait in the lobby and along the sidewalk for someone – anyone – to break up the monotony.
If we’re serious about pursuing an attend one, serve one culture, it won’t be long before volunteers get bored. As leaders, we must remind them that inactivity does not equal inadequacy. True, they may be staffing a door that isn’t seeing much traffic or manning a welcome center that isn’t doing a lot of welcoming. But their presence makes a massive difference for a guest who may otherwise be unsure of where to go.
But when boredom is real, how do we stave it off? There are a few ways:
Remind them of their “why.” Keep the vision front and center. Reintroduce them to the reason they’re standing around to begin with. And remind them that their presence is important.
Pair them up. Whether they serve on the sidewalk or a back hallway, letting friends serve together makes the time go faster. Just make sure they break the huddle when guests are present.
Rotate. Mix it up so that less-active roles get a chance to trade off with the more active ones. During off-peak times, scale back your team so that people can have a break. And that leads us to…
Provide a backstage area. You need a volunteer headquarters, where your team can go once the sermon begins. Move to a skeleton crew and encourage vols to take some down time and build relationships.
How do you remind your volunteers that inactivity isn’t inadequacy?