Church growth should be a team effort, with God as the head of that team.
God has provided the people who are leading the church with you—staff and volunteers—and they need to understand their critical role in the health and growth of the church as a whole.
Each person and every ministry team they’re leading is important and their team’s operations can have an impact on the church’s future. But when it comes to Sundays, some teams have a more critical role in helping or hindering church growth than others.
Get these three teams healthy and on board with the church’s mission and strategy, and you’re well on your way to a growing church.
1. The Hospitality Team
Your church’s hospitality team are the first faces that people interact with when they visit your church. It’s critical for the Hospitality Team to understand the vital nature of their role. For a first-time guest or even a regular attender, a bad experience with a rude and unhelpful Hospitality Team member can lead to a decision to not ever come back through the doors of your church.
And it doesn’t take long to decide. According to Will Mancini, leader of church consulting firm Auxano, guests know within 11 minutes of driving up whether they’re coming back to your church or not. He said, in reference to evaluating the guest experience of your church, “It’s hard to overstate the wow factor a church body creates by serving generously through a system of hospitality.”
One thing you can do today to improve your church’s hospitality is schedule a meeting to plan a run-through of what it currently feels like for guests to come to your church. A few questions you can start with:
Are there signs or people (or both!) in place to make it easy for guests to identify where to enter, exit and park?
How complicated is it for a guest to find the children’s ministry and check in their child? It may seem obvious to you but try to see it through the eyes of someone who has never been in the building.
Can hospitality team members and the “welcome center” be clearly identified? Consider having the team wear t-shirts or badges that make them easy to find when a guest has a question.
Is the team prepared to answer questions? Make a list of frequently asked questions and make sure the team is properly trained in answering them.
Your church may seem friendly to those inside while not being welcoming to new people coming in. Taking small steps can make a huge difference in making guests feel welcome.
2. The Student/Children’s Ministry Team
Choosing and deciding to regularly attend a church is often a family affair. Parents are likely to weigh the experience of their children with their own experience with the church. In other words, it’s just as important to invest in the health of your student and children’s ministry teams as the sermon content in the main service, the music, etc.
If your student and children’s ministry teams have solid processes, engaged staff and volunteers, and a welcoming environment, this team can be a tremendous avenue of growth for the church. Think of the student/children’s ministry as one “entry point” for non-churched people. If their children get in the car after service and tell the parents about the new friends they made and how much fun they had, the parents are much more likely to come back to the church because of their child’s great experience.
The same is true for the students/teens in your church who are able to volunteer, get involved in student ministry activities, and be an anchor of their family to regularly attend church.
3. The Leadership Team
Many of the decisions that affect church growth the most are made before Sunday even arrives. That’s why it’s so important for the entire leadership team of the church to be informed, involved and on the same page.
Before the Hospitality, Student/Children’s Ministry or any other teams are able to get healthy and contribute to the growth of the church, good leaders are being hands-on by investing in the development of systems, processes, staff and volunteers.
The leadership team can start a conversation by asking questions that challenge the teams to be the best they can be and to cultivate a growth mindset. A few questions leaders can start with:
Which volunteer leaders are ready to step up to encourage the team and prevent the burnout of other volunteers and staff? Burnout is detrimental to church growth so it’s important for your entire team to share the load.
What type of planning or financial support do our teams need to improve their ministry and help the church grow? If new signs, t-shirts, a new church lobby layout or other resources are needed, the leadership of the church should be aware and the teams should feel their support.
What about our church has caused the current students and children in our church to want to come back and what has kept others from coming back? It can be helpful to ask people in your church for feedback in this area and bring that feedback into the leadership’s strategy meetings.
How accessible is the leadership team? People who are new to the church could be turned off by feeling that they can’t get to know the leadership. For example, having a system for personally responding to emails, scheduling meet and greet events, and making space for leadership to greet people after Sunday services could help. Consider the options that are best for your church’s path of faithfulness and growth.
Our prayer is that your church experiences healthy growth, even if it’s slow and steady. In that, people are coming to know Jesus and committing to be a part of their local church body. We believe that these three teams are critical in helping you get there.
Take a Next Step
If you’re looking for more help leading your church to growth, come join the Church Fuel Community.
We are a group of pastors and leaders who value practical coaching and resources and encourage one another to grow healthy. Reaching new guests and helping them get involved in the life of the church is a regular topic among our members.
Every month, we release a brand-new master class, covering topics like volunteers, connecting people, preaching, finances and more.
Members also get access to a resource library full of documents, spreadsheets and templates, including lots of church growth resources. There are members only office hours and round tables where you can get personal help when needed.
There’s no long-term contract and a money back guarantee, so you can check it out without pressure. Learn more here.
This article originally appeared here.