Values: Part 4
Recently our church rolled out a set of four values that define our mission. These are not new values, just updated ways of expressing the principles that have guided us since our inception in 2002. In this series, we’re asking two key questions:
- How does an inside-the-walls ministry (like guest services) fit in an outwardly-focused church?
- How should a specific ministry check its own identity to make sure it fits the church’s overall mission?
The Summit’s fourth value:
We send every member.
This value is where things get real. An outwardly-focused church must be a sending church. But how does a “come and see!” ministry thrive in a “go and tell!” church?
Here are four ways a Guest Services team can thrive in a sending church…and how a sending church can thrive with a healthy Guest Services team:
1. Hospitality here begets hospitality everywhere.
When we train our people to welcome the outsider to our home turf, we’re training them to be kind to the outsider on any turf. Neighbor or co-worker, barista or banker, friendly atheist or angry relative…everyone can use a dose of generous hospitality. I would argue that our Guest Services team isn’t successful until we’re as kind to the waitress at 1 p.m. as we are to the first-time church guest at 10 a.m.
And when we begin to offer hospitality everywhere, we can view our entire week as our opportunity to witness. We can leverage those moments of kindness as a platform for the gospel.
2. Our most effective missionaries are our most ordinary members.
Don’t let the term “ordinary” come across as a slam. Stephen was an ordinary member of First Baptist Jerusalem, yet God used him as a spark to ignite a global movement. Our “ordinary” members are financial analysts and college freshmen and housewives and teachers, and they can get into businesses and dorm rooms and neighborhoods and classrooms that the “professional team” can’t always get into.
If we remember the first point – that hospitality here begets hospitality everywhere – we see how God can use ordinary people in ordinary places to spark extraordinary movements.
3. Our sent people are equipped people.
In the past 18 years, our church has sent out 1,258 people on both domestic and international church planting teams (again, the vast majority of them ordinary people without seminary training). Those people have planted about 60 church in the states and 320 churches overseas. Do you know what almost every one of those church plants have? A tiny army of pre-trained, dyed-in-the-wool, cut-me-and-I’ll-bleed-hospitality Guest Services Team members. Think of it: our team had the opportunity to personally equip some of those our church sent out!
Our lead planters know that a former Guest Services volunteer carries the DNA of hospitality, and so those people are often on the front lines, developing systems and training as these plants prioritize the gospel above all, do whatever it takes to reach all people, make disciples and not just converts …and continue the cycle to send every member.
4. People who “live sent” are more likely to receive others.
Here’s the best part of the virtuous cycle: when we send every member…whether it’s to their neighborhood or the nations…we’re developing people with a “live sent” mindset. And when they live sent to those on the outside, they are primed and ready to receive those outsiders when they come inside.
People with a “live sent” mindset will park far away from the building. They’ll choose inconvenience and move to a front-row seat or to a lesser-attended service. They’ll forego conversations with old friends to walk across the lobby and make new friends on a Sunday morning. They’ll give up any sense of entitlement so that others may be brought into the fold.
See all posts in the series:
- Values: the Intro
- Part 1: We prioritize the gospel above all.
- Part 2: We do whatever it takes to reach all people.
- Part 3: We make disciples, not just converts.
- Part 4: We send every member.
- Values: the Outro
design credit: Jason Mathis