Two Cities Church (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
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.
Matthew Sullivan is the Connections Director at Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Two Cities exists to give every man, woman, and child repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the gospel. They have an average weekly attendance of 1,500 people.
What does your training process look like for your First Impressions volunteers?
We are starting to utilize Ministry Grid every other month for continued development for my Service Coordinators and Team Leads for each area. I have a meeting with my Service Coordinators two times per year individually, and two times as a group yearly. Weekly, we have a team huddle during each service that my Service Coordinator leads that includes news, updates, vision casting, and ice breakers for people to get to know each other.
How is your First Impressions team structured? Do you ever release volunteers to lead in other ministries?
Our org chart is Ministry Director > Service Coordinator > Team Lead > Team Member. Front the initial on-ramp, we present team members with a growth track for them to increase their leadership within the ministry. Our goal is for everyone to know their next step at Two Cities, whether that is to begin shadowing as you on-ramp or more intentional development as a Service Coordinator!
If they feel called to serve in other ministry areas, we would absolutely release them. I want people to serve out of their passions. My desire is for people to say I GET to serve, not I GOT to serve.
Talk about your assimilation process. What specific steps do you have to move someone from first-time guest to follower of Jesus?
Everything we do as a church points toward The Weekender, an event we host that helps guests discover our vision, values, and vehicles as a church. It takes place on a Friday night and Saturday morning nine times a year, with supper, breakfast, and childcare provided.
A guest must come to The Weekender before they are able to join a serving team, Community Group, or pursue membership. At the Weekender, each guest will fill out a bio that includes updating their information and giving us their spiritual journey among other items. They will also have an opportunity to hear from each of our ministry leads during a breakout time of the serving team they are interested in.
After the Weekender I follow up with each guest and have a follow up phone call with those requesting membership helping them identify their next steps at Two Cities. We believe that each of these areas will contribute to a Christians growth in their walk with Christ. And for everyone who gets involved that is not a believer, we believe that they are going to consistently be exposed to the gospel, given chances to respond, and learn what it means to live a life in line with Christ.
What is one of your best practices / ministry hacks that you’re especially happy with?
Having a Service Coordinator for each service who handles making sure volunteers are in their correct location, put out any fires, and be a point person for team members. That allows me to get out of the weeds of the operations side and really be able to focus on interacting with people who are attending.
What is a challenge you’re currently facing on your First Impressions team?
Getting volunteers back to our culture of “Attend One, Serve One.” That is probably the biggest issue we have as we come out of COVID.
How do you define success on a weekend…either personally or professionally?
When I see volunteers going above and beyond to make people feel welcome. Our number one plumb line for First Impressions is “People are the Mission.”
One example recently is when a First Impressions volunteer asked a first time guest to sit with them during the next service they were attending. As a result, that guest kept coming back and was even baptized a few weeks ago. That guest told me the only reason she returned was because that volunteer asked her to sit with them on their first visit.
What is an idea you’d like to experiment with or implement over the next six months?
My next challenge is continuing to improve and refine the on-ramping process for first-time guests, while also maximizing my team’s face-to-face interaction with them. I am hoping to do this by having my Welcome Tent volunteers walk first-time guests to their next location. If it is to the worship center, they will give a brief tour of the lobby (where bathrooms are, etc) and then hand them off to an usher who will help them find a seat. If the next step is checking in their kids, the volunteer will take the Connection card they already filled out and walk them to the kid’s building. The connection card will be handed to the kids volunteer to enter into the kid’s system while the Welcome Tent volunteer gives the guest a brief tour of the kid’s lobby. I am hoping this prevents any redundancy in the process while helping the guest orient to all parts of the church.
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