Last month, the Centre Grove Church Council discussed Radical Hospitality, which included a thorough walk-through of the church facilities (trying to view them through the eyes of a newcomer). This month, as part of our ongoing discussion of Bishop Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, we focused on two important areas related to our hospitality.
Ushers & Greeters.
Centre Grove has ushers and greeters but they’ve not been specifically trained to practice radical hospitality. Right now, greeters primarily greet people at the entrances and hand out worship bulletins and ushers receive the offering during the worship service.
We plan to train a team of ushers and greeters (possibly giving them a more creative name, perhaps something like, “First Impressions Team”) to practice radical hospitality. The greeters will play a role at the entrances and ushers will be active inside the worship space. Besides giving warm, friendly welcomes, we want them to focus on visitors, making them feel at home, handing them visitor’s cards/info packets, and being of assistance to them.
Collecting visitor info is important, but just as important is having a system for following up on the info. At this point, we simply plan to follow-up by sending a note of thanks, acknowledging their visit. We may get more creative as we develop this outreach.
New Church Sign
Interestingly, another development has taken place alongside of our discussion on radical hospitality — the purchase of a new church sign. As I understand it, a new sign has been on the agenda for a while, but has only recently been acted on. We have ordered the new sign and it is expected to arrive in about a week.
The new sign will greatly increase and improve our visible presence in the community, which is part of our hospitality. We believe the new sign will help us be more welcoming and invitational.
After the new sign has replaced the old one, I will post some photos of the sign as well as some very nice internal signs that have recently been placed throughout the building in a post called “Radical Hospitality 3.0.”
From a leadership perspective, this has been a very easy process so far. Centre Grove’s church council members already have a clear sense of mission and are ready to move forward with the five practices. If that were not the case, I’d be spending a lot more time casting vision and getting buy-in from them. But as it is, this group is ready to move forward!
As we continue to put some systems in place and turn our hospitality into radical hospitality, we’re moving on to another of the five practices, “intentional faith development,” which we’ll begin discussing in May.