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While every volunteer role in your church is vital, it’s also safe to say that your connections volunteers play one of the most important roles when it comes to creating a positive first impression about your church. They are on the front lines. As a result, they will have conversations with first-time guests no one else may get the chance to meet.

A few weeks ago, my friend Will Mancini shared the top 10 mistakes first impression volunteers make in his post, ‘Smiling Is Not Enough’. Today, I wanted to share a few of the most common mistakes Will identified and what you can do as a church leader to overcome them.

"...it is safe to say that your connections volunteers play one of the most important roles..."

Today, we wanted to share a few of the most common mistakes Will identified and what you can do as a church leader to overcome them.

Mistake #1: Volunteers have not thought in advance about my next step as a guest, so they don't know how to guide the conversation with me. 

You must instill a sense of confidence in the first-time visitor’s mind that you and your people know what you’re doing.

When guests enter your facility, they should encounter friendly, well-trained connection volunteers who can direct them to any part of the facility or provide information about any ministry that is taking place. The welcome team members should know schedules, room locations, special events, and answers to any other question guests might pose.

Mistake #2: Volunteers inundate me with TMI.

It is overwhelming when churches provide too many ways for the first-time visitor to connect. This is why your church should have additional resources dedicated to helping guests understand how they can plug in to your ministry.

Don’t provide a catalog of options. Make it very simple and clear. Provide one or two primary options for taking the next step.

Mistake #3: Volunteers are preoccupied, distracted, or unsure of themselves.

Improving the first-time experience guests at your church can be achieved by following the 'two foot' rule of successful first impressions.

Don’t be afraid to raise the bar on staff and volunteer expectations. When little is expected, little is achieved. When much is expected, much is achieved. If you communicate these expectations early and often, you’ll see your welcome team rise to the occasion and make your first-impression ministry shine.

Mistake #4: Volunteers don't introduce me to others at the church.

Your guests may enjoy their visit and feel welcomed by your team, but the real goal is getting them plugged in to your community. Encouraging your connection volunteers to introduce first-time guests to other church members is a great way to make those initial connections that are so valuable.

This is one reason why your church’s connection space is so valuable. While it’s important to have connection volunteers that are easily identifiable, consider asking other church members to ‘hang out’ in your connection space to meet guests who could potentially join your community.

Mistake #5: Volunteers gave me written information that is nor important, pertinent, or strategic.

Because an important part of the experience is making follow-up contact with guests after their first visit, you’ll need to engage your guests in a way that prompts them to give some personal information. Don’t just hand your guests a connection card and ask them to fill it out. You or your volunteer needs to be able to explain why a connection card is important and how it benefits your guest.

"...Your guests may enjoy their visit and feel welcomed by your team, but the real goal is getting them plugged in to your community..."

Do you see the common theme here? It is, in a word, all about training! The problem really lies in the fact that, too often, we turn volunteers loose with little or no equipping time. As leaders, our level of intentionality for training and equipping connection volunteers directly impacts our ability to make sure everyone who comes through our church doors will have the opportunity to find eternal life, a relationship-based support system, and a place they can call their spiritual home.

What are some other common mistakes you see connection volunteers making? How is your church training and equipping connection volunteers to take ownership of your ministry?

There's always a next step:

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