Where to Position Greeters at Your Gatherings

Greeters help create the relational vibe at your Sunday gatherings. Most importantly, they play an important role in helping people connect to your community.

That’s why it’s worth thinking through how you leverage their skills and talents.

Now, greeting is part art and part science. What I want you thinking about today is how to position your greeters. I know it might not be something you’d want to invest time in thinking about. The truth is, you can have the nicest and kindest people greeting. But if you don’t position them well, you’ll waste their talents.

Some of my suggestions include:

  • Outside. Your visitors experience begins when they enter the parking lot. If possible have clearly marked attendants waiting to help people park and direct them to the front door.
  • Outside front doors. Have more greeters outside your main doors to hold them open for people.
  • Inside lobby. Ideally you have another greeter in the main lobby as people come in. they’re not too close to the front door, but they are present. there watching the doors and smiling and greeting people with a smile.
  • Transition points. These are great places for greeters. At our Park Hill location guests need to go up some steps to get to the auditorium where we hold our service. we’ve always got greeters there.
  • Floaters. Try to have greeters who float in our community space, the lobby, the hallway etc. They can help new families connect to our kids area etc.
  • Entrance to your auditorium or gathering space. This is where our greeters hand out programs and pens etc.
  • Inside the gathering space. one more greeter inside the meeting space to help people find seats.
  • Exit greet. It’s REALLY Important to do all of this on the back-end of service. Call it exit greeting. This is one last opportunity to make a positive final impression with people.

It’s easy to let greeting your guests become perfunctory. This is a huge miss. We need to remember that in the Western context at least, Sunday mornings play an important role in the spiritual life of most Christians. Greeting, like other Sunday gathering roles, can literally change eternities.

I’ve written about importance of connecting with your guests here.

What are other ways to position greeters on Sunday morning?

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Are You Taking Time to Broker Relationships?

Church planters have a unique opportunity to bless others by brokering relationships between people they know. The more you embrace the role of relationship broker, the easier it’s going to be for you to connect people in your community in meaningful ways. And that’s another way to bless people.

In a former life I was a broker of financial transactions. I put buyers and sellers together and took a little off the top for myself. That was a good living but I digress.

Even in my new role as NewThing director, I am a broker. I help connect church planters and residents with our networks.

The posture of a broker is one that I advocate all planters adopt and work at.

According to the dictionary, a broker is an individual or party (brokerage firm) that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission when the deal is executed.

I am not advocating you charge a commission (although that might be cool!)  But I am suggesting that you and your church plant will benefit when you adopt the posture of a broker. The more relationships you broker the more people you’re going to know and in church planting that’s a good thing.

Besides, brokering relationships is biblical. In the Gospel of John we see a great example of Phillip brokering a relationship between Jesus and Nathanael:

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth,the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:45-49).

I am suggesting we take a cue from Phillip and posture ourselves as brokers:

On your teams…
In your community…
In your networks…

Be creative; trust the Spirit. You can’t screw this up.

Take some time right now and draft a list of people you know and figure out how to broker relationships between them. Then stand back and watch God do his thing!

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When You Need to Fight For Joy

Can I be honest?

I am struggling to write. write

Everything was going so well. I was writing regularly and had found a rhythm I could keep without sacrificing too much in the other areas of my life. I was posting to my blog and had begun writing an outline for a book.

But that all changed when I moved back to Chicago and started a new job. In fact, over the past couple of months I’ve experienced several major life stressors:

  • Our daughter went off to college.
  • We moved.
  • I started a new job.
  • My boys started new schools.

Some of my friends have suggested that these stressors are the causes of my recent writer’s block.

I don’t agree. In the past, I’ve always been able to write-through the hard seasons. In fact, when life gets challenging, writing helps me cope.

Writing is really important to me. I guess you might say it’s somewhere between a hobby and a discipline that helps me stay mentally healthy. I am more creative than I let on and so writing is a way for me to let my inner artist loose. I am also passionate about helping church planters start movements. Writing is one of the way I can do that.

No doubt, writing has always provided me great joy.

So what I’ve realized is that I need to be intentional about writing again. I admit it–I need to fight for the joy that writing provides me. And that means I need to be intentional and disciplined about writing again.

Here are some things I am doing:

  • I will write at least TWO Pomodoros a day. (Pomodoro is a system I’ve used to help get things done.)
  • I am reading other blogs and finding I am inspired by all the great stuff out there.
  • I am reading a book on writing.
  • I will read more novels and poetry. (I love reading fiction and poetry but seldom make time for them because I am too busy reading books on church planting.)
  • I am praying for the strength and focus to re-engage as a writer.
  • I asked my wife to help me stay accountable to my writing goals.
  • I am making writing a priority which means I am getting up earlier to do it.
  • I keep a post-it note on my desk that reads: ‘Write because you love to write’ to remind myself why I want to do it.

I know I am not the only one who needs to re-start something that provides joy. Maybe it’s exercising, or painting, or playing an instrument. Whatever it us, may I challenge you to re-start it.  Take another run at it. After all, the things that we like doing are the things that give us joy. As long as these things honor God, we should make space in our lives to do them.

So what about you? What’s the thing that once brought you joy? What’s it gonna take for you to fight for it?

Thanks for reading my blog–I REALLY appreciate it. (You can SUBSCRIBE for regular updates.)

What About Benevolence?

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Hebrews 6:10).

Benevolence: An inclination to perform kind, charitable acts.

For centuries the church has helped those in need. Of course, there are lots of ways to help people and one of those ways is through benevolence. benevolence

At least in the context of church planting, benevolence refers to supplemental cash gifts to people in crisis.  Note that benevolence isn’t just for mega-churches or established churches. If you’re a church planter people will ask you for help.

So the question is how do you respond? 

A couple of things…

First, you need to pray through your response. This is important. If you’re a planter you will undoubtedly feel threatened when a benevolence situation arises. Don’t misunderstand me–I know you want to help. But I also know you will start thinking cash flow and the fact is no planter ever feels good about this.

Second, you want to always respond with generosity and truly help people.

In the past few years I’ve helped several church plants think/pray through ‘benevolence’ in their context. I am not interested in helping you start a benevolence ministry. Rather, I want to provide you some things to think about as you formulate benevolence in your plant.

Here are some things I’ve learned about benevolence…

  1. Benevolence is for people connected to your church. As a rule I’d recommend considering benevolence for people connected to you church.
  2. Budget for benevolence. I recommend you budget 2-3% of your income per year for benevolence. Note, I am assuming that you are serving your community in other ways. If you’re not, double or even triple the amount you budget.
  3. Benevolence isn’t a program. Think of it more like a petty cash fund that you use at your discretion to help people in need.
  4. Don’t foster a culture of benevolence. I am not advocating you be stingy, but I am saying to keep benevolence on the down-low. There is no need to ‘advertise’ it.
  5. Find a leader with GREAT relational IQ to lead your benevolence team. This person needs to be the primary ‘broker’ of funds. The primary role of this person is to enter into a relationship with the person(s) seeking assistance.
  6. Embrace the relational opportunity of a benevolence request. When people ask for help they are more open to sharing their story. Don’t waste the opportunity. Someone MUST meet with the person to get the entire story.
  7. Don’t give to people who randomly call churches for help. I am not advocating you be stingy. Quite the opposite. But you and I know that you can spend a lot of time trying to independently verify a strangers request. The fact is there are people who make a habit of calling churches and asking for money. Church planters simply don’t have the ability (or money) to meet this demand. Better to direct them to appropriate social services.
  8. Track your benevolence. Keep track of your benevolence gifts on a spreadsheet. This will give you something to celebrate (total amount given) but also help you track of anyone who would abuse your generosity.
  9. Small groups should be the front-line of benevolence. I advocate pushing your benevolence through small groups. This will be hard and first but become normative over time. The idea here is that our small group leaders are front-line pastors. I want to celebrate a small group being generous to someone they have a relationship with then I would a church writing a check to a stranger. Make sense?
  10. Benevolence mustn’t be ongoing. It’s an act.  Benevolence is for short-term emergencies or some sort of crisis. It should not be used to pay someone’s ongoing expenses.
  11. Pool your funds with other churches. This could be a great way for you to help each other and make a great impact in your community.
  12. NEVER write a check to the person asking for help. ALWAYS write the check to the landlord or power company or automobile repair agency.

I know this can’t possibly cover everything–but it should get you started.

When in doubt, lead with generosity and trust it all to God.

What are some other insights you have for benevolence? What have I missed? What have I overlooked?

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Exponential West Coast 2013 “Round-Up” : Leading Others

I am hanging out at Exponential West this week representing NewThing and trying to learn all I can to help you plant great churchesexponential

I’ll be taking good notes and I will undoubtedly return with a ton of material to write about.

So while I am away, I thought it would be a good week to “Round-Up” some of my favorite and/or most popular posts.

Today I’ve Rounded-Up some posts I’ve written about leading others.

Here is a post about making prayer for others a priority.

Here is a post about seeing the world changers around you.

Here is a post how to have life-giving conversations with the people around you.

If you dig the content of Mission Glue, you can SUBSCRIBE HERE. Thanks so much for reading!