Q&A: How Do I Get Backing from My Boss?
I believe that creating a healthy guest services culture is important. But is it really possible to build it without senior pastor buy-in?
[from a participant in the 2019 One-Day Workshops]
It will be possible, but it won’t be easy.
First, don’t buy the lie that lead pastors don’t see the value in this. Your mind may drift here if your passion and theirs doesn’t align, but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it. There are a ton of people and projects and passions clamoring for your lead guy’s attention. They can value it without doing all of the grunt labor on your behalf.
Further, it’s important to know the difference between in opposition to and not a cheerleader of. Your lead guy may be totally fine for you to run ahead with your plan to kickstart the culture, even though he’s not ready to preach a 14 week sermon series on why hospitality is important. That’s a significant difference from him telling you, “Do not build a guest services culture if you want to keep your job.”
That being said, perhaps you’re still screaming, “But my guy is the exception!” In that case, I think there are least five ways to get the buy-in of your senior pastor.
1. Have the conversation.
Find a time on his agenda to talk. Ideally do this when this topic is the only thing on the agenda. Lay all of your cards on the table. Tell him what’s stirring in your soul. Provide an outline of your “asks.” Request his guidance or feedback. And then ask for his blessing to move forward.
2. Continue the conversation.
Invite your pastor to work through a book on guest services (see a few titles I recommend). Sometimes an author can play the role of a third party, giving you both things to talk about and process together.
3. Make his job easier.
When I started this role back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I told my pastor frequently, “I want my job to make your job easier.” In other words, I believed that his sermon started in the parking lot, and if our team did a great job of welcoming guests, that engagement would set him up for success. If your pastor can see that this simplifies his ministry, he may become a bigger fan.
4. Share great stories.
There are a lot of easy wins in building a guest services culture: a first-time guest sticks around because they felt so welcomed. A previously disengaged member starts serving because they love to help people. Someone comes to faith because of the investment of a team member in caring for them and getting them from their point A to point B.
Make it a habit to share those stories with your pastor on a regular basis. He’ll not only hear what’s happening on the front lines, but you might find some of those stories making their way into his sermons.
5. Show measurable results.
Like it or not, we live in a bottom line culture. So figure out what you’re going to measure, and update your pastor monthly or quarterly. Let him know how many first-time guests you are tracking, how many came back for a next step, and how many volunteers have stepped up to serve.
What are your best practices to get your lead pastor’s buy-in?
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