(This series has been updated and expanded upon here: The Five Elements of a Fully Implemented Connections Strategy)
Guest Services: Your Greeters Once a guest is greeted at the doorway, what will they see? A team of well trained greeters should be focused on the entrances and attentive to every person who walks through the door. This is a big part of your first impression with guests so recruit well! What people see from your greeter team will be what they expect from your entire church. Strong greeter teams are multigenerational but tend to rely heavily on young, friendly adults. The greeter role does not require a theological degree or advanced computer skills; it is an opportunity for a lot of people to be the first impression of your entire church. Your Greeters represent everything your church does. They need to be a well trained, deep team! Maintain a greeter presence at your main entrance starting 15 minutes before your first service until at least halfway through the last one. You need to have greeters at every entrance, but especially at your main entrance. That’s where your guest services station will be.
Guest Services: The “Info” Station At a central location is the info center. Or guest services station. Or Kiosk. Or whatever your church calls it. This is an important spot on Sunday mornings. Your church needs a consistent presence of pleasant, helpful, and informed people at this station from no later than 15 minutes before the first church service until after the bulk of people have left the Worship Center. This is where all guests feel like their questions are wise and their presence is valued.
When a family asks about preschool or children’s ministry, this is where someone will walk them to the part of the building where that ministry meets and introduce them to a leader in that department who is equally as happy to meet them. Parents are walked through the child check in process, and greeted at the door of their child’s room by a leader who can answer any questions and assure the parents that their child is in good company. The same goes for anyone else asking for directions. Your guest services leaders never point at a hallway or gesture towards a doorway. This is where we not only walk someone where they need to go, carrying a diaper bag for them if needed, but a great opportunity to connect on a personal level, exchange names, make small talk, and let folks know how great the church is and how glad we are that they came. That conversation on the way is priceless for guests; your greeter just became a personal “face” of your organization.
Guest Services: Your Materials. Your main entrance is not just a place for your friendliest possible greeter presence, but also for well produced promotional materials. I’m talking about fully branded, targeted core ministry programming and projects only. This is a first impression you’re making, so limit the amount of information to only the best possible materials to answer questions and let guests know what you’re all about. Less words, less paper, and less mess equals a more intentional strategy to communicate exactly who your church is and where the guests fit in. A booklet describing core small groups and Next Gen ministries with contact info and a long term schedule is absolutely necessary. As is your ability to communicate Next Steps for someone interested in your ministries. A few cardstock pieces with branded ministry descriptions and maybe even QR codes is also helpful. Stacks and rows or oddly matched papers full of clip art, different fonts, and out of date information is embarrassing. And confusing. Keep it simple!
Guest Services: The Guest Packet. What are the few pieces of information every guest has to hold in their hands? What are the most important things you want to communicate about your church? Put these together, and create a very light and easy to read guest packet. It can be on a single page, in an envelope, or a small plastic bag. Suggested items are a description of core ministries, a free coupon for a drink if your church has a café, a guest card or connect card or (gasp) visitor slip or whatever you call it, and a branded item like a pen or wristband. Time sensitive promotional materials for seasonal events can be given out with the guest packets, but I don’t recommend placing them inside because it makes it difficult to keep up to date that way. What are you currently giving your guests?
Guest Services: Smart Signage. There is definitely an art and a science to good signage. They need to be easy to read, impossible to miss, and communicate exactly what people need to know. Avoid putting clever insider language on your church signage. Your Young Adults ministry may be several hundred strong, but that hip Latin word they use as a name doesn’t really explain much to a guest. The same goes for your preschool, children’s ministry, students, and so on. The word “Preschool” with an arrow, floor number and or room number on your signage is much more helpful to guests than “SUPER AWESOME RADICAL MYSTERY MINISTRY” which will probably sound corny and not really communicate what it is or where someone should so.
Don’t let the “EXIT” sign be the only word on display that is easy for guests to understand.
The ministries of our churches exist to make disciples of all people everywhere. Incredibly, so few churches have a comprehensive strategy to connect the very guests that walk into our buildings to the ministries that exist for them! This series breaks down the five essential elements every church much bring together to build a system that doesn’t just connect with people, but draws them into relationships with the church and ultimately Jesus Christ./ Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four / Part Five