Christ Community Church (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
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.
Collie Young is the Administrative Assistant for Worship at Christ Community Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho. CCC is a nondenominational and intergenerational congregation in southeast Idaho. Pre-pandemic, they saw 500-600 people in services each weekend.
Collie has been a part of CCC since January 2017. Connect with her via email.
How did you arrive in your current role?
In 2005, I came back to church after a season of grief. I tried a new church where I was living at the time (northern Nevada), and arrived just before the service started, hoping I could slip in unnoticed. As I walked in, I was greeted by a man who asked how I was doing. I started to speak but instead dissolved into tears. He motioned to a woman and they led me to a quiet place in the hallway. Both of them prayed for me. I was overcome by their genuine care and concern for others.
That began a journey of healing for me. After attending the church for a while and sharing my story with the Worship Pastor, he asked me to create a greeter/usher team. I jumped at the chance!
In 2015 I moved to Idaho Falls and began attending Christ Community. Because of my story and experience in leadership, our pastor asked if I would be interested in my current position.
I love worshiping with other believers in other parts of the country when on vacations. On one trip, my family visited a large church. We arrived a few minutes early. There weren’t any greeters to welcome visitors, nor was there anyone to answer questions or direct you to the auditorium. No one spoke with us as we waited for the service to start. The service started late and when it came time for the offering, there was almost a ten minute delay waiting for enough “ushers” to come forward. The man doing the announcements was totally unprepared. It was rather awkward! Though I enjoyed the worship time and the teaching, the whole experience was very distracting due to the absence of organization.
I believe the First Impressions Team (guest services) should be a vital part of creating an inviting, comfortable and non-distracting atmosphere where people are welcomed and encouraged. The FI Team has the privilege to not only serve those who regularly attend but have the opportunity to make visitors feel welcomed.
What does your training process look like for your First Impressions volunteers?
I personally train our Greeters, Hosts and Ushers. But, we also have a training lunch twice per year for ongoing training and for potential team members.
How is your First Impressions Team structured? Do you ever release guest services volunteers to lead in other ministries?
We have four different teams. Our Information Booth will restructure after the pandemic to more effectively connect visitors to the body of the church. We also have Greeters, Hosts, and Ushers. Hosts help train and direct the Greeters, and Ushers greet those coming into the auditorium, assist in seating, and serve communion. Serving as an Usher or Greeter is a prerequisite to serve as a Host.
What is a challenge you’re currently facing on your guest services team?
This year, like many churches, we have had to drastically change the way we do services (social distancing, etc.). I have about a third of the volunteers I had before the pandemic.