One of my most treasured memories of high school was lunchtime. No, it wasn't the awesome lunch lady surprise or the super soft Otis Spunkmeyer cookies but rather a chance to get off of campus and go wherever we wanted.
Even though we could go anywhere, we had a few routines: Tuesday was Woody's Club at Woody's Wings 'n Things, Wednesday was Pizza Hut buffet and of course every other week, pilgrimages to my own house for "Ma Byers Chile."
My mom is the very picture of hospitality. Very few times growing up can I remember us going more than a few days without having someone in our home whether it was for a meal or to have a place to sleep. She loves having people over and people love coming over. My friends were no exception. Each time I would announce it was a "Ma Byers Chile" day there would be whoops a few "Ahhhh yeah's" and pats on the back.
And it wasn't all just for the chile. Our home was warm, inviting, and a place you always wanted to come back to. It was a place anyone could feel at home.
Its that same feeling I want desperately for the guests at our church to experience. As soon as you walk through the doors of our church I want you to feel at home.
It doesn't matter whether you've been here 1000 times or this is your first time, you are my guest and I want you to feel like you belong, like you're wanted, like you're home.
So how do this? We're not perfect and we're always trying to improve our the guest services but here are a few ways we make all of our guests feel at home.
Treat Everyone like a Guest
We never call anyone a visitor, a regular or anything else. Every person who walks through the door is a guest.
Multiple Layers of Greeters
I want every guest to be greeted at least three times before they've sat down. So we have people opening outside doors, people inside those doors and ushers at the auditorium entrances greeting every person they can.
Our building is pretty straightforward but anytime you're in a strange place even the most straightforward buildings can be confusing. One of the things we've implemented is printing a simple map of our building from an overhead view and labeling each of the classrooms. We hang these at the entrances. Its called Today at The Creek.
Bonus: Have everyone that volunteers in your guest services attend a different church at least one Sunday during the year. This will help them understand what it feels like to be a guest.
Obviously there are many more things you can do to improve your guest services and I'll be writing more about these in the future.