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This weekend, your first-time visitors will decide whether they will return in the first 7-10 minutes of them driving into your parking lot. Maybe you have a welcome team established, or maybe you know you need a team. A great welcome team is encouraged to not only make a first impression, but, more importantly, a lasting impression. Our friends at Generosity by Lifeway share a perfect example of what can happen when your welcome team is thriving...and more importantly what you might be missing.

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On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs.

Without that backup volunteer in place, conversations that change everything are hard to have. To stop and talk means that a welcoming task will likely not be done. Gospel opportunities exist on your church campus every weekend, but your hospitality team may not be ready to recognize and respond to them. As the leader, it is up to you to recruit that “one more” volunteer to help provide the warmest welcome possible. Here are five holes in your hospitality to fill asap.

This Weekend, Put Someone Else...

...on the sidewalk. The gap between your front doors and your guest parking spaces can feel like a long walk to the first time guest. Playing zone in your hospitality means that someone minds that gap, ready to receive a warm handoff from your parking lot team and walk alongside your guests into the front doors. Do you have anyone smiling on the sidewalk?

...in the parking lot. The parking lot typically contains the most transactional hospitality moments every weekend. Everyone wearing a vest will necessarily be correctly positioned and focused, to keep every car moving and every pedestrian safe. Do you have anyone else out there who can engage in a relational moment if needed?

...at the back doors. The invitation to return next Sunday may be more critical than the welcome this Sunday. It is easy to think of hospitality as merely a “before the service” need. However, the questions a first-time guest might have after worship could be much more important than those they have prior. Do you have people at the doors as everyone exits the service?

...in front of a counter. The worst place for a hospitality leader is behind a desk. It is too easy to hide behind a table, to carry on a conversation with another volunteer behind a counter, and to forget that their first priority is to serve the guest. Do you have anyone positioned out in front of the counter, focused and poised to help?

...in the church office. The office phone rings all week, and there is typically an operator or receptionist ready to give a warm welcome and connect callers to the appropriate extension. But on Sunday mornings, callers are likely looking for information or maybe even just reaching out for help. Do you have someone answering the phones on Sundays or will callers get an impersonal recording?

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Find the original article "5 Holes in Your Hospitality To Fill ASAP" by Bryan Rose.