For the most part church leaders tend to race between the two extremes of being silent on the money topic until there is financial pressure of some sorts then we can run towards fundraising mode. These practices reap a transactional giving culture of short-term gains. Most pastors desire to experience the long-term joy of a continual overflow of resources. However, few innately know how to step into this reality. The truth is that generous giving is the result of a steady sequence of the right kind of leadership choices. Many of these decisions on the surface would not appear to be connected with financial generosity. There are a few ministry drivers of overflow that every pastor needs to know. One of those drivers is the priority of a guest experiences ministry. Here is why.
- The most important giving stat that needs to be on every pastors radar screen is the number of new givers every month. Without new givers you will only be declining in givers as natural attrition occurs.
- To become a new giver a person must first attend, then be inspired toward some level of connection to make their first gift. This moment of connection can come through a conversion experience, new members class, joining a group/team, or being exposed to a cause the church is supporting.
- Before someone becomes a consistent, tithing, or even extravagant giver they must first become a new giver. We all start in the same place. Therefore, as church leaders brand new givers should be one of your highest priorities in growing a generous culture.
- Finally, new givers typically have made their way through the decision of conversion. Personal evangelism is the most important first step in growing a giver. We become believers first then givers.
So up to this point, we are able to glean that ministries like outreach, hosts, greeters, parking, new members class, small groups, and service teams are all critical, not only to expanding the kingdom through a healthy church, but they are also paramount to enjoying a future generous culture. So let’s answer this question, how can our guest experience ooz the generous culture you are dreaming of experiencing one day?
Here are a few thoughts to close this blog. (This is not an exhaustive list, but just some leadership level ideas that directly impact a generous culture.)
- Find your most outgoing people and place them at your entry ways. Not every person is great at hosting or greeting. You want people who can’t wipe that smile off their faces and just love visiting with complete strangers. The more smiles a person encounters from the parking lot through kids drop off to their seat in the worship experience the better.
- Smiling faces create great energy not only for guests, but for all who enter. These people will be infectious not only to your guests, but also to your regular attenders. Smiling faces across your facility can overcome the challenges that older or poorly designed facilities often experience like narrow hallways, poor signage, and inconvenient parking.
- During the welcome time in the service greet the guests with love and enthusiasm. Identify with them in their nervousness of being in an unfamiliar setting. Set them at ease by helping them understand what to expect in the service and where to get their questions answered. Prioritize one clear next step for them. Your goal is simply to get them to come back one more time. If that does not occur everyone loses.
- Repeat your guest comments almost verbatim every week. This will train your people on how to receive and help the guests that they meet. With smiling faces everywhere and a consistent model of welcoming language from the stage, your entire congregation is now being trained as great greeters.
- Make the next step clear and easy. Allow the guest to provide you with whatever information they feel comfortable. Do not force a decision or a pace to their journey. God brought them to you, so you can trust them to his work. Thank them for their visit and be clear about what they can do next to gain the information they need to move forward. Be extremely mindful that guests do not show up at a worship experience because they were bored and have nothing to do. They typically have something going on in their lives and church may have been the last answer they pursued. Be gracious, caring, welcoming, and nurturing.
- Provide a significant opportunity to allow them to request prayer. Given that something is going on in their lives, a guest may not be as interested in becoming a member and joining in as you think. There mind and heart might actually be consumed with a heavy weight. They just want God to do something that only God can do. Let them know they can record a prayer request that will be kept confidential and saturated with faith-filled prayers.
- Nothing connects a guest better to their next step than the presence of God. Pray over your facility and leadership relentlessly. Pursue God’s presence in worship. Teach God’s word with his anointing. God’s favor and power can overcome every obstacle that might be presented.
Smiling people everywhere, mixed with thoughtful help, and a special sensitivity to how God is at work in the heart of a guest goes a long way to creating a generous culture. Think for just a moment about the most generous person you know. They are typically thankful, positive, sensitive, and available to help others. This sounds a lot like what I just described in a great guest experience. If we do not have generosity at the front door we will likely never experience it with other resources.