It’s the beginning of a brand new trip around the sun, and all of us are experiencing some form of renewal, restarting, or rebranding. No matter your personal take on resolutions, there’s something about a fresh page on the calendar to make us think about what could be.
If you serve or lead in any capacity in your church’s guest services or hospitality ministry, I’d like to offer you five shifts to consider this year. You may already be doing one or all of these, but they’re a good litmus test for the maturity of your ministry.
Shift 1: from “all about the weekend” to “all about Jesus.”
I don’t fault people who use the term “It’s all about the weekend.” I’ve used it myself, many times. I get what they’re getting at. But it’s easy to slide into the mindset that what we do in a Saturday and Sunday service is more about our quality, our organization, and our giftings than it is about the one we should be all about. We can never assume that Jesus is the centerpiece, the foundation, the beginning and end of everything that we do. And when we start to assume him is when we start to overlook him. Let’s hold Jesus high to our volunteers, to our guests, and to our own souls as we desperately cry out to him to do what only he can do.
Shift 2: from “visitor” to “guest.”
If you’re still using the dreaded “v-word,” stop it. Stop it right now. Knock that junk off. I once had a friend show up at my house at 8:40 pm. I didn’t know he was coming. There was no crisis that precipitated the visit. He just…showed up. And he stayed. Until 12:19 am. That night…my friend was a visitor. I didn’t expect him and I didn’t know if he was ever leaving. But the people that come to your place on the weekend? You should know they’re coming. You should have a plan. They should feel like you wanted them to come and can’t wait for them to come back.
Shift 3: from “guest” to “family.”
Someone recently took me to task on my use of the term “guest services.” I’ll dig in a bit deeper in a future post, but let me speak out of both sides of my mouth for a minute. Side one: we seek to create weekend experiences where everyone is treated like a guest. From the brand-new family that just moved in all the way up to the lead pastor, we want to greet and treat everyone like an honored part of the weekend. But there’s an obvious side two, and that is the reality is people don’t need to stay in a guest mentality. We need systems to move people into action. We need plans to get them off the sidelines and into the game. We need to move them from connected to committed.
Shift 4: from “come and see” to “go and tell.”
I am not at all against “come and see” (i.e., attractional models of ministry). I wrote about that fairly extensively in chapter four of People Are the Mission. The problem comes when we focus only on “come and see” to the neglect of “go and tell.” This is a shift we’re praying about, thinking about, and strategizing about this year on our teams: how can we take our current roster of volunteers and help them beef up their personal evangelism? How can we make sure that the gospel isn’t just being preached on the stage, but shared in the parking lot? How can we help our teams have an evangelistic mindset long after they take off their lanyard and head back to their real lives?
Shift 5: from “leader of volunteers” to “leader of leaders.”
Before you dismiss this because leader isn’t in your title, hang with me. I don’t care whether you are on the payroll at your church or that you do what you do for free.If you have relationships, you have influence. You are – in some way – a leader. And you can exercise that leadership influence to be a taskmaster, calling other people to embrace a job description and a checklist. Or you can use the influence as a leader to raise up other leaders: to cast vision, to call out gifts, and to create a perpetual cycle of growth where your gifts are multiplied into those who come after you.
Which of these five shifts do you need to make this year?