How to Build a Thriving Guest Services Ministry

“No one neglected, everyone connected.” This is the vision of our Guest Services ministry. We believe we’ll get there through creating welcoming spaces, making intentional connections, and impacting our guests with the “WOW!” factor during their time with us.

May of 2016 exploded with the launch of a brand-new Guest Services Program at our church, and we haven’t looked back since. Like many churches, we had already established a greeting team and a connection point team that functioned as a central hub for sign-ups and resources on Sunday mornings, but God had greater plans in store. Since the spring of 2016, we’ve launched a dedicated parking team, a hospitality team, a security team, a medical team, a new visitor welcome team, and a crew of hand-selected campus hosts.

We also took a careful look at existing ministries and infused those areas with more energy and intentionality. For example, we re-structured our usher team, created a dedicated green-room space for worship volunteers and artists who use our facilities, and built a more accessible children’s ministry welcome desk in our common area. It’s been an exciting year!

If we could welcome you into our building on a Sunday morning for a behind-the-scenes look at the nuts and bolts of our Guest Services ministry, this is a snapshot of what you might see:

Our volunteers kick off their morning with coffee and a light breakfast over a Volunteer Central Meeting 45 minutes before each service. Our leaders encourage and motivate them for the morning, as well as download any important information they will need. Everyone is in place and ready to go 30 minutes before each service begins.

To our volunteers, every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday on our campus. And that means first impressions are a priority! We want to start the process of connecting people to Jesus the minute they pull into our driveway. We provide an enthusiastic parking team to make the arrival process as smooth as possible – rain or shine!

The next faces our guests see are the energetic, smiling greeters opening the door on their way into our building. Handshakes, smiles, and eye contact make a larger impact than we realize!

Once inside, we don’t want to task our brand new guests with locating a specific desk or check-in area on their own. Instead, we have a team of Campus Hosts who are trained to spot all the brand new guests. Their job is to help register new families, escort them to their children’s classrooms, and then help the parents find a cup of coffee and a great place to sit in the Worship Center. Each new guest receives a gift bag with information about our church, a coffee mug, chocolates, and a voucher for a free specialty drink at our Common Grounds Café.

Each of our guest services teams are passionate about making every individual’s Sunday experience (whether they’re a visitor or regular attendee), a Christ-filled and worshipful morning.

We’ll be the first to tell you – we are still a work in progress!  In the near future, we would love to make strides in the following areas:

  • Improving the clarity of the signage throughout our building
  • Designing an area for first-time visitor parking
  • Implementing an efficient way to track new visitors and partner with them as they take next steps in attendance, membership, serving and growing in the Lord

As the Lord allows, we would love to see these things come to fruition so that we can better serve our congregation and care for the body. And in the meantime, we will thank Him for the grace that has enabled us to arrive at this point. Everything we have is something we have received from Him (1 Corinthians 4:7)!

Laura Johnson

Laura is on staff at First Baptist Church where she oversees the Guest Services Program and serves as the Executive Assistant to the lead pastor, Phil Byars.  She is married to her high school sweetheart and has 15 grandchildren.

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