Crossroads Community Church (Sheboygan, Wisconsin)
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.
Tabitha Steinbock is the Director of Connections Ministry at Crossroads Community Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She has served in that role for the last three years, but has been a part of the church for 13 years, and was a part of the core launch team. If you have more questions or just want to say hi, get in touch with Tabitha via email.
Crossroads has a campus in Sheboygan (900 attending each weekend), as well as a campus in Manitowoc (150 each weekend). Their vision: We seek to be a community of Christ-centered, spirit-transformed, people-loving world changers. We achieve this through our dynamic serving, LifeGroup and outreach culture that sets us apart in our community.
What are the top three books you’ve read on the topic of guest services and/or volunteer culture?
What does your training process look like for your Connections Ministry volunteers?
Our serving team member onboarding process is a huge focus for me to revaluate and revamp in 2020. Since joining our staff three years ago, I feel like our teams do an amazing job welcoming and engaging our guests and church family. I want to bring that same engagement and intentionality to our onboarding process to not only help people unlock their spiritual gifts and have ministry impact, but also to enhance and preserve our serving culture since we are no longer a tiny church plant.
Currently we are big fans of having people “shadow” for a day on the team(s) they are interested in joining. Once they commit, we have an online “serving 101” video they get emailed and short quiz they take. Then they train once a month with their serving team weekly leader for anywhere from one to three months before they are serving “on their own.
How is your Connections Ministry Team structured? Do you ever release guest services volunteers to lead in other ministries?
We have six teams that fall under our Connections Ministry umbrella: Parking, Refreshments, Host (greeters), Engagement (people who intentionally strike up conversations in our worship venue), Connection Center (welcome kiosk) and Safety Teams (medical and vigilance). We have weekly leaders within most of these teams who then have serving team members they oversee. We are increasingly identifying apprentice leaders so that we are developing leaders for succession, other ministry teams and future church plant core teams.
Talk about your assimilation process. What specific steps do you have to move someone from first-time guest to follower of Jesus?
We use Text-in-Church for our guest follow up system. People get entered into our first time guest follow up campaign and receive a series of texts and emails over a 6 week period of time. One of the things we utilize in this program is the reminders that you can schedule in a campaign. I have email reminders sent to me at 60, 90, 180, 270 and 365 days from a guest’s first visit to prompt me to check in on how they are doing. Based on the activity I can see in our church management system, I or another staff member will reach out with a “next step” to invite them to take. This has really helped us avoid having people fall through the cracks and help people move from rows and into groups and teams. It is time consuming, but we really want to ensure we are shepherding people with intention and not just adding them to a distribution list or campaign.
What is one of your best practices / ministry hacks that you’re especially happy with?
I live and die by my Trello boards. Honestly. I use them with my ConnectionsTeam leaders and other staff as well. I throw “to dos” on my board using the app on my phone on Sunday mornings. Pro Tip: take the time to learn the “Butler” power up in Trello and you can have repeating weekly / monthly / yearly tasks show up on your board whenever you need them to. It’s pure genius! Here’s a free template of my work/personal Trello board you can copy and make your own.
What is a challenge you’re currently facing on your Connections Ministry Team?
One thing I’m puzzling over in recent months is how much “volunteerism” has changed in the last decade. Two trends that I see and I am praying for wisdom on how to respond to:
1. Baby Boomers Retiring & Snowbirding – We quite literally have winter from November to June (no lie…we don’t get spring here in Sheboygan…I usually turn my heat off the first week of June due to chilly Lake Michigan just a few blocks away!) I’m beginning to experience amazing serving team members heading south for five to seven months of the year now that they have hit retirement age. (It’s cold here…we don’t blame them!) They want to serve when they come back in the summer, but our current structure is built for people serving one Sunday a month all year long. How do we innovate and restructure to include our church family when they are back in Wisconsin, but ensure we have appropriate serving coverage the rest of the year on our teams?
2. Millennials – We have very few people from this generation willing to be up early and serving on Sunday morning guest service teams. Generally speaking, I also have experienced that they struggle to want to commit to serving monthly. They are in church though – which we love! They do love to come to Sunday service together, but most serve on Wednesday nights during our youth group. I absolutely want to see more of these church family members join our Connections Ministry teams because we love them and want our guests to see people that look like them too!
What has been one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made in leading your team and/or implementing a guest services culture?
Early on I made the mistake of putting people into leadership roles based on their real-world leadership background and charming personalities rather than seeing their faithfulness to humbly serve on a team first for an extended period of time. These folks would burn bright for a few months, but didn’t have the heart for serving and leading sacrificially – especially leading volunteers. I’ve learned that some of the most humble and quiet people are my absolute best shepherd leaders!
How do you define success on a weekend…either personally or professionally?
When I’m not needed! I love when my leaders and teams can completely “do their thing” on Sundays and they absolutely have no need of me. When this happens, it means I am doing my job to empower my leaders to lead the teams God has given them to shepherd and oversee. To think on the spot and meet needs as they see them. On Sundays that turn out like this, I get to simply cheer on our leaders, slow down to engage with team members and new guests and not worry at all about the logistics.
What is an idea you’d like to experiment with or implement over the next six months?
Creating short-term “affinity” or “activity” groups that allow people to get to know other people in our church family. I’m realizing we have a “stepping stone” gap between showing up to attend church and joining a team or LifeGroup. We are lacking opportunities for people to first build friendships, before committing to doing life together on a team or in a LifeGroup.
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