6 barriers to extending hospitality

Congregations can put all the right systems in place, such as training greeters and having a welcome center, but if there is still no relational warmth beyond the volunteers, guests will experience a “disconnect” and will respond accordingly. Listed below are barriers that often hinder a congregation’s hospitality efforts. Consider which ones might exist in your setting.

1| MEMBERS ARE FOCUSED ON THEIR CURRENT FRIENDSHIPS RATHER NEW ONES
  • Do your members don’t notice guests? Befriend them?
  • Are your members friendly, but only with people they already know?
  • Do members seem interested in meeting people they haven’t met before?
  • Are members are overly focused on catching up with their closest friends?
  • Do members view extending hospitality as something that only ushers and greeters do?

2 | YOU DON'T CONNECT HOSPITALITY WITH GROWING DISCIPLES
  • Do your members view extending hospitality as being core to the Gospel message?
  • Does your church view extending hospitality as something that should happen at EVERY church activity (not just Sunday morning, and not just for onsite events)? 
  • Does your church view extending hospitality as a spiritual practice that's demonstrated by all Christ-followers?
  • Do members recognize the difference between being a “friendly” versus a "befriending" church?  Befriending churches have a sincere desire to turn a guest into a friend.

3 | MEMBERS DON'T TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR GREETING GUESTS
  • Do your members and leaders personally greet people they haven't met before?
  • Are members regularly challenged to move beyond their comfort zones when extending hospitality? 
  • Does your church clearly communicate that all members are part of the hospitality team?
  • Do members introduce themselves to people that are seated near them?

4 | YOU DON'T HAVE A TEAM TO MANAGE/IMPROVE HOSPITALITY
  • Does your church have a plan for organizing and overseeing hospitality ministries?
  • Does your church continuously invite members into hospitality ministries?
  • Does your church train greeters, ushers, and Welcome Center volunteers?
  • Does your church equip teachers, worship leaders, custodians, paid staff and elected leaders when, where, and how to extend hospitality?

5 | CHURCH LACK A CONNECTION PLAN & PROCESS FOR DEEPER ENGAGEMENT
  • Do you have a written assimilation process that staff and all leaders are aware of? This begins with gathering church visitor contact information and inviting guests to participate in the mission and ministries of the church.
  • Does your plan deepen one engagement with guests that extends into their daily lives?
  • Do you have a plan for tracking regular guests? For following-up when regular guests stop coming?

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHURCH LEADERS
  1. What barriers are prevalent in your congregation?
  2. What might your congregation do differently in the future?
  3. What might YOU do differently in the future?
  4. What resources are needed to address the challenges you are facing?


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