How to Start a Guest Services Ministry…With No Money
This is the next installment in our ongoing“Small Church” series, which looks at guest services through the lens of the smaller congregation: those with 150 or fewer people in attendance each week. See the entire series here.
We’re now seven posts deep in our “Small Church” series, and – while some of the content may have been helpful for those of you in small church world – the question you may still be wrestling with is, “Yeah, but how do I pay for all of this stuff?”
Believe it or not, I get it. I didn’t come from a church world that had a Guest Services Team. Or Guest Services Pastor. Or Guest Services budget line. And I recognize that’s the case for the vast majority of churches out there.
Several years ago I wrote a post titled Ten Low Or No-Cost Ways To Up Your Guest Services Game, and I encourage you to check that out. But that post was focused more on improving your ministry on the skinny. What do you do if you don’t have a ministry at all?
Six Ways to Start a Guest Services Ministry with Zero Dollars:
1. Gather your kindred spirits
If you have a heart for welcoming your guests well, I guarantee you aren’t the only one. Find a person or two whose hearts beat the same, and invite them to be a part of something with you. (And if you’re saying here, “But I am the only one,” then start casting some vision to those who have a spark of hospitality lurking just below the surface.)
2. Make volunteers good…for nothing
You don’t have to invest in expensive training modules or books in order to get your volunteers on the same page. Start with a few blog posts or podcast episodes. Have your vols look for good and bad examples of customer service during the week and report back on it the following Sunday.
3. Use what you have
These days, all of our campuses have a somewhat sophisticated first-time guest tent setup, but we certainly didn’t start there. Every church has a folding table or 20 that is just gathering dust. Pull it out of the closet and set it up as a hub for your first-timers.
4. Draw on the skills and resources of your people
I once worked with a church that had a group of ladies who baked fresh bread each Saturday night that the church gave away to first-time guests the following morning. While not truly free, it didn’t cost the church anything, and it allowed the members to use their skill and generosity to bless newcomers.
5. Join an online group
There are a ton of groups on Facebook, hashtags on Instagram, and whatever-you-call-its on Pinterest that will offer ideas, collaboration, feedback, and resources for free. Log in and learn!
(Thanks to Terri Durham for this great suggestion.)
6. Remember that caring doesn’t have to cost
It costs you absolutely nothing to be kind to people. But it can cost you a lot if you don’t. Don’t sweat a budget (or lack of one), a ton of resources (or lack of them). Just show up, be prepared, and be ready to welcome those whom the Lord sends your way.