Throughout all of Christendom there has been a universal theme:

The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.

If that’s true, why prioritize Guest Ministry?

Out of all the demands placed on a staff and volunteers, why put so much energy and intentionality into this? We believe there are 4 great reasons to put so much effort into your church Guest Ministry:

  1. The bible calls us to show hospitality to people in need. As strange as it may seem, hospitality is a biblical (not southern!) culture that all churches need to practice. In addition to the parables in Matthew 25:31-40, there are many other occasions (Matthew being called into the Ministry, Jesus sharing a meal with Zaccheus, Peter having Jesus over for dinner and Jesus washing his disciples feet) where cultural hospitality was an important aspect of the story. If Jesus was aware of, and participated in, cultural hospitality, shouldn’t we also participate in hospitality in our ministries today?
  2. This is how we meet people where they are. Just as Paul felt called in 1 Corinthians to be “all things to all people,” we as churches have a similar calling to reach our culture where they are and in the language they speak. Hopefully, the majority of your guests are lost people, and initially speaking to their consumer focused mindset by rolling out the red carpet will earn us opportunities to speak into their lives and guide them from a self driven to an others focused way of life.
  3. Today’s guest is tomorrow’s disciple. These are your future members, volunteers, givers and leaders. Just as Jesus invested in people throughout His ministry, we also need to invest in the people we are called to shepherd. Beginning that investment before they ever step foot in your building is a great way to set the tone for how much your attendees care about others. By making hospitality to outsiders such an important part of your ministry, you will have a built in defense mechanism against the “insider mentality” that keeps many churches from having the impact on their community they truly want to make.
  4. You can’t preach the Gospel to people who don’t come back again. The average church retains 9% of its first time guests. Scary, isn’t it? 91% of the people who visit an average church never return. How do you change your community if you never see guests more than once? How do you preach the gospel, or help meet needs, or connect people into the body of Christ if they never come back again? Putting effort into every aspect of your guest ministry is the best way to bring them back and earn the right to speak into their lives on a personal level.

So what does this mean for your church? Where do you start? We think there are three next steps that will get you on the road to developing a great guest ministry:

a) A healthy Guest Ministry considers every aspect of the life cycle of a guest from the moment they start considering looking for a church to helping them take next steps in their faith. Is your church thinking through every step and interaction a guest will likely have when they begin the process of looking for a church? (Hint: That starts with your website.)

b)  A great place to start is by evaluating your current guest experience. Write down on paper everything that you think your church currently does now for guests, and what your processes are now for helping guests feel welcome and connected to others within your church. Sometimes there is incredible clarity in taking time to write down a process, instead of just assuming it’s happening well. Don’t write down what you want it to be; write it down as it is now.

c)  When you request our Guest Ministry Toolkit, we include a Guest Ministry Roadmap full of best practices on building a great guest ministry. Compare your current process to best practices and see what changes (if any) you can implement to improve your Guest Ministry.

How much emphasis does your church place on your Guest Ministry?