Norris Ferry Community Church (Shreveport, Louisiana)
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.
Kevin Willsie is the Minister of Community Groups and Operations at Norris Ferry Community Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. Norris Ferry has 350-400 people in attendance each weekend, and desires for “every member to enjoy authentic Christ-centered community and worship to the glory of God.”
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 First Impressions volunteers?
We hold one training at the beginning of our service year in August. At the training we walk through each position and share what it looks like to serve on the team and what the goal for the year is. We usually have our team on a three month rotation. Each volunteer will serve a month and be off for two. The first Sunday of every month, I try to gather with the coordinators and the volunteers serving that month to pray and answer any questions they may have.
How is your First Impressions Team structured? Do you ever release guest services volunteers to lead in other ministries?
Every member at NFCC serves on a service team. In July every year service team sign ups are sent out for everyone to sign up for a team and in August we launch our service teams. Each member has the option each year to change what service team they are on.
Our staff oversee service teams that are within their ministries. For example, I oversee our First Impressions team (parking, greeters, ushers, guest care) but I have team coordinators who help me with scheduling and training for our team members. With every member on a service team, we rarely have to release a First Impression team member to lead or serve on another ministry team.
Talk about your assimilation process. What specific steps do you have to move someone from first-time guest to follower of Jesus?
The goal for our First Impressions team is to create an environment of Christ-like hospitality the moment someone pulls into our parking lot. I believe this is where the process begins.
Then our first-time guests are encouraged to fill out a connect card from our greeters or from announcements in the service. From the connect card all guests are contacted and invited back by our guest care team and informed of Connection Group.
Connection Group is a six week small group that meets twice a year (usually meeting in a members home) that includes fellowship and a study of how and why we do church the way we do. This includes walking through the gospel, our mission, our values, and how to become a member. If they decide to become a member, an elder will meet with them and discuss the gospel and covenant membership.
What is a challenge you’re currently facing on your First Impressions Team?
A lot of our members have been serving on this team for a long time. Our church has been growing and our First Impressions Team has been trying to adjust. It has been a challenge to keep the team motivated and locked in on the importance of what they are doing.
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