Do you remember your first day at school? You probably had a sense of excitement, dread, fear, and hope right from the moment you woke up to the moment you arrived on campus. And by the time the day was over, you had developed an expectation of what the rest of the school year was going to be like, for better or worse.
On Sundays across America, families are experiencing the same emotions when visiting a church for the first time. In fact, it’s fair to assume that your church’s first-time guests are making value judgements all the way from the parking lot to the sermon. This is why it’s so important for churches to have the right people in place to welcome them.
With first-time guests, there’s a unique opportunity to create a great first impression and practice memorable hospitality. A skilled Hospitality or Guest Services team is unbelievably valuable within the church as it impacts how guests feel and the likelihood that they’ll return and even bring more people with them. Here are some of the things to pay attention to when putting together a world-class hospitality team.
Identify the Right People
Being the first point of contact for newcomers is an important role and requires welcoming personality types. What you’re typically looking for is greeters who are outgoing, warm, friendly, and inviting. Not all people are extroverted, conversational, or enjoy meeting new people, which is why being selective is better than being desperate in this scenario. Try identifying people in the congregation who display these characteristics. Pro tip: task your staff with identifying great candidates to recruit.
Call out their Strengths
When approaching these church members and asking them to serve, make sure to let them know why they were identified as a good fit for the hospitality team. Let them know how they’re able to use their natural giftings to serve the guests and the church. By doing so, you are affirming your belief in them and sharing the vision of how they can be empowered in the unique way they are gifted.
Set them up for Success
People don’t want to feel like they are being used or taken advantage of. Avoid scheduling the same volunteers every single weekend so they have opportunities to rest. Setting a healthy schedule helps volunteers feel valued and feel part of a team rather than just part of a system. Don’t be afraid to celebrate your volunteers when they show up on time, do a great job, or have an encouraging story to share. Building them up publicly or even a handwritten thank you note goes a long way in showing value.
Encourage Above & Beyond Behavior
All world class teams are known for excelling in something. When it comes to making guests feel welcome, it’s important to set the expectation that going above and beyond should be the norm. For example, if a guest asks where the coffee station is, don’t just point them to it, but rather walk with them to the desired location.
If a visitor has questions, needs someone to talk to, or needs to know where to go, Hospitality volunteers should be encouraged to leave their designated post to assist them. It’s moments like these that allow hospitality teams to really shine. Going above and beyond is always going to be more memorable than doing the bare minimum. Knowing there is flexibility to adapt in any given scenario will help give them the freedom to care for people in the best way possible.
Now that you know what to look for, there’s no better time to start recruiting. Log in to your VOMO Dashboard to create Hospitality volunteer projects in just a few clicks. Want to interview the candidates before they get scheduled? You can require approval before someone is fully signed up to serve.