Introducing the “Small Church” Series
If there is a common question that arises most often on a blog about guest services in the local church, it’s a variation on this theme:
“Yeah…but how does this play out in a smaller church?”
And I get it. “Guest services in the local church” is quite the niche to carve out. Using that phrase brings to mind megachurches with fleets of parking shuttles, swirly slides to the kids check in, and handpicked locally roasted non-GMO coffee beans at the cafe, sourced from the coffee plantation owned by your church’s missions team in South America.
But the megachurch isn’t the norm. It’s far from it. A recent study showed that the average U.S. congregation sees 65 people gather each week. Smaller churches are the rule, not the exception.
That’s why I’m shifting my focus in a new series that’s designed specifically for the smaller church, and how her leaders and volunteers can increase their guest awareness culture. If that’s you, you’re worried way less about multi-site hiring and lobby philosophies, and way more about adding one person to your two person volunteer team, or how to tackle the conversation with your bivocational pastor if you should even try to build a “team” at all.
The series will focus on churches with 150 or fewer people in attendance each week: church plants in storefront locations. Legacy churches with ancient steeples and empty pews. Rural churches led by a local farmer, and urban churches led by a trio of volunteer elders.
And at this point, perhaps you’re sniffing out the obvious conundrum: how on earth does a “Pastor of Guest Services” at a megachurch speak into this?
It’s a fair question. And one that I’ve been asking for a while. To be clear, I haven’t always been on staff at a megachurch. The first churches I served were in the 150-400 range. But those were churches I served over two decades ago, and what I did then had little to do with guest services. And as I launch this series, I recognize that I don’t know what I don’t know.
So I’ve assembled an advisory board to help me craft this series: a half-dozen men and women from churches across the U.S., in full-time and part-time and volunteer roles, at churches ranging from 80 to 175 in attendance. They’re helping to shape the series, speaking into content, making suggestions on posts before they go live, and generally keeping me from saying dumb and unhelpful things (good luck with that).
I’ll post a new article in the series every few weeks. Here are just a few of the topics we’ll be hitting over the next few months:
- How smaller churches struggle with hospitality
- Why smaller churches are uniquely positioned for hospitality
- Tackling the “everyone’s job” myth
- How to start a hospitality ministry with no money
- Why training volunteers is necessary in a small church
- Online presence in a small church
- Speed bumps to watch for in small-church hospitality
And by the way, if you have ideas for topics or questions to tackle, I’m all ears. Reach out to me directly or comment below.