The Seven Deadly Sins of Guest Services

This guest post comes to you courtesy of Danny Franks, our pastor of Connections. At the Summit, Pastor Danny has taught us that everything we do as a church speaks. The question isn’t if we’re sending a message with our guest services but what message we’re sending. Your guest services write the introduction to the sermon. So what kind of introduction are you giving?

For more of Pastor Danny’s cheeky wisdom, check out his blog, Connective Tissue: Two-Ply for Your Noggin.

Sin 1: No on-ramp or ongoing care for new volunteers

Our church-wide standard is that we offer monthly First Impressions training at least 10 times per year. Putting volunteers in place without training is a natural byproduct of not offering training, and it means that we fail in passing along the “why” behind our “what.” Lack of follow-up or clearly defined next steps for potential volunteers may lead them to believe they are not needed.

Sin 2: No outward posture

The point of guest services is to point people to Jesus. We can’t serve our guests if we’re in a huddle with our friends. The Summit’s guest services teams should be proactive, outward-facing, and intentional so that we will see our guests before our guests see us.

Sin 3: No attention to detail

Handwritten signs, dirty bathrooms, litter on the sidewalks, and supply closets short on supplies are anathema to a guest services team. Every gum wrapper should be considered our gum wrapper. Every flickering light and squeaky door should catch our attention before it impacts our guests’ experience.

Sin 4: No “attend one, serve one” expectation

A healthy volunteer is a worshipping volunteer. Our standard is that all of our volunteers will be able to fully engage in an entire worship service and then fully serve for another service. This expectation allows our entire team to focus on Jesus and our guests without the two being in conflict with each other.

Sin 5: No skeleton crew

Related to “attend one, serve one,” we will have no ghost towns. Every guest who shows up—regardless of what time—deserves a warm greeting and clear instructions on what looms behind closed doors. We will always have 10 to 15 percent of our team present at key locations any time a service is in progress.

Sin 6: No inclusive language

We do not have visitors but guests. There is a profound difference in the two words—one is an afterthought, and the other is planned for and honored. We will speak directly to guests at appropriate times throughout the service, interpreting what they are witnessing (baptism, communion, offering, etc.).

Sin 7: No first time guest follow-up

The first visit should always set up the second visit. If guests trust us with their contact information, we should serve them by contacting them within 48 hours to thank them for their visit, provide additional next steps, and answer any questions they may have.