Church Branding: Beyond Hello—Become a Host

The universal “Hello.”

Hola. Aloha. Glad to meet you. Welcome. Happy you’re here. Hi there. Hey. And the ‘head nod.

All are forms of the “Hello.” As churches focus so much attention on the ‘welcome’ of guests, is there more than a handshake needed? The welcome is important and cannot be skipped, but perhaps we should strive to go beyond the hello and adapt the mindset of a host.

Let me ask you: have you ever hosted a party or gathering at your house? As you’ve laid out the plans, prepared your environment and welcomed the first few—you’ve instinctively gone on to more fully fulfill the role of host. We know intuitively that it goes further than a smiling “hello.” Hosting is about so much more . . .

What if every member of your church started to go beyond the hello and really began seeing themselves as a host? Do you think that might make a difference to your guests?

5 keys of hosting:

  1. A Host doesn’t assume.
    So much of our church culture and conversations build out of assumptions. We often assume that people understand the lingo and comprehend the structure of the ‘next steps’ that we wish for them to take. After all, we’ve announced it from the front and put it in the bulletin. Can’t they read and retain?

    Think back to the last party you’ve hosted—as you’ve opened up your home to people, you’re always pointing things out (the refreshments, bathrooms, etc.) without assuming that your guests will know or figure it out because they’ve been to ‘other‘ parties before. Every good host never assumes. A good host naturally fills in the gaps that people might have. They anticipate questions. They announce again and again, because they want guests to be in the know.

    Folks may have heard it before, but a host never assumes—they assist with the information needed, so guests feel comfortable.

  2. A Host always invites.
    They simply invite guests into the proper room, to enjoy some options or entertainment. A host is always extending an invitation to the next thing, a next opportunity to talk, eat, or engage. We do it in our homes (inviting them to enjoy the game, some snacks, join a conversation or activity already in progress) and we should do it in our churches.

    There is great power in an invitation. You try new things in life probably more via invitation than simply reading new information. So invite them along to the next step.

  3. A Host creates warm & welcoming environments.
    Taking the extra time and energy needed to help guests sense that you thought of them before they arrived. A host puts the attention and effort into creating the sights, sounds, smells and scenery of those spaces. Does your church?

    In a culture that is taking that tip more and more seriously, the church often can feel irrelevant by the negligence of our room environments. Now caution: this can become a money pit—always looking to sink more resources into improving spatial experiences. Costs shouldn’t dictate room environments, they may influence the decisions, but costs should not drive decisions. Be frugal, be tidy, be mindful, be creative and be actively reviewing each room.

    Create a bit more of that warm environment than existed last year. The little (and cost effective) things really do matter.

  4. A Host has an agenda.
    Every good host has an agenda. Do you want to know WHAT it is? It should be the WHO. The guests must matter to the host more than anything else. The focus is on the guest and trying to help or assist as needed, so that they have a great experience. But how often do we as church members forget this simple focus and drift toward it being all about us?

    Keep a simple agenda—help the guests at your church always ‘feel’ that they matter to God and that they matter to you.

  5. A Host helps people connect.
    More than any other activity, a good host helps folks connect. A good host is always introducing guests to others, going out of their way to help guests ‘feel’ like they belong. A host tries to eliminate dissonance and fosters connective conversations with real people. No one likes to feel alone. And people can feel alone, even if they’re surrounded by people, can’t they?

    You’ve been there. I have been there. Humanity runs on human connection. People often return to places because of connection. For example, I bet what drives you back to a favorite restaurant, has more to do with connection to those people (they made you feel special) than it does the food. Customer service professionals drive home this brutal reality. Connections matter.

    If we as a church can help guests develop connections to the church as a whole and to some folks within her, than a sense of belonging will follow. And as they feel they belong to a group of people (the church) it opens the door to believing in the one we follow (Christ). A host seeks to introduce. A host helps foster connection.

The hello is important, but the Church is in need of more hosts.

How is your church moving beyond hello?

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9 thoughts on “Church Branding: Beyond Hello—Become a Host

  1. Great great post! The last part about connecting really hits home. So many times it feels like churches don't push for a larger connection. What I mean is that they don't help foster a connection of people that will move outside Sunday morning. It feels so many times that the only reason they are pushing for connection is for Sunday morning or events only, not like they are pushing for real connection among brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the building!

  2. Thanks Josh…I agree with you. The connection is about deepening relational ties to a community and the people within. It may occur during Sunday morning (and should), but any kind of connection can strengthen a person's resolve to journey life together. How can the Church improve on that? Thoughts?

  3. Great post ! As our Childrens Ministry attracts new families, our role as guest service hosts becomes even more important. As hosts our job is getting families to connect and going out of our way to help guests feel like they belong. Our guest should leave our church feeling they had a wonderful Sunday morning experience, and feel they matter to God.

    • Right on! The simple little things go further than we realize of helping our guests experience and thus prepping the way for God to work in us and through us.

  4. Great info Jack! Thank you! I recently joined Guest Service and love it! Nothing says welcome like a smile and laughter! You are doing a great job!