Another football season is behind us, leaving fans in agony and non-fans relieved that life can return to normal. Even though the season’s over, it wouldn’t be responsible to let a season go by without extrapolating a good football analogy and apply it to ministry. Here goes.
Most football fans gravitate toward the marquee positions: quarterback, running back, receiver, and linebacker. It’s these players that get drafted in Fantasy Football leagues and garner media attention all over the country. But, real devotees to the sport understand that the battle is won and lost on the line. Whoever has the strongest front line controls the game and allows their marquee players to shine.
A church bears striking similarities. People look to the pastors, leaders, and staff and assign them importance based on what they see. But, the real leaders in the church understand that the front line is where the victory is really won.
Your welcome team of greeters is the front line of your church. They make the first impression. They can brighten someone’s day or cast a shadow of uncertainty just by the way they interact. They set the tone and the feel of the experience. And as with football, the team needs to be equipped and trained to do their jobs well.
Practice makes perfect, but coaching perfects practice. The players on a team can’t just show up and continue doing what they think is best. No team has ever won the Super Bowl by accident. They need a seasoned coach or another teammate to guide them through the training. And that coach needs the tools to do that.
It’s important that your church institutes solid training mechanisms that help identify, recruit, develop, and deploy a welcome team that will make a positive and lasting impact through their interactions.
Some ways to ensure your team gets the training it needs are:
- Creating checklists for specific, repeated functions
- Sharing resources and materials among the team
- Granting team leads certain permissions related to their job
- Communicating the “wins” to your team
- Casting the vision and importance of their purpose
Your team also needs to have strong parameters to continue heading in the right direction. Like hash marks and out-of-bounds lines, the team needs to know where they are headed, and where they can’t go. Defining good guidelines and processes for your welcome team to continue operating at the best of their ability is essential to maintaining high-quality interactions and momentum.
These might include:
- A team meeting at the same time every week
- Retelling the mission for the welcome team
- Creating tip sheets and how-to guides throughout the year
- Pairing experienced greeters with newbies
- Defining the rules of engagement
As your team adopts and adapts the training and guidelines, you’ll see an increase in certainty that will allow your welcome team to be more effective. Your church members will notice the change and will not only appreciate the positive improvement, but will also more strongly consider volunteering themselves. When Church members see a clearly defined pathway to get involved, their likelihood of participation rises and they inch another step closer to the front line.