Hospitality: there's more to it than a hello and a handshake.

Hey there! JJ here! Today I wanted to share about one of my most favorite subjects - Hospitality. Here is my definition of hospitality -- make people feel comfortable. 

One of my roles on Sunday mornings at my church is First Impressions / Hospitality Coordinator. I get so much joy seeing one of my volunteers warmly greet new people and make genuine connections. I think an emphasis on hospitality and connection plays such a huge role in the church. It works to correct the stereotype of stuffy, judgemental, churches. There's more to it than a hello and a handshake. 

I feel like this should be a goal for every ministry leader. We should want people to feel comfortable when they are around us and in our space. I'm talking about feeling comfortable in a friendly welcoming sense, not necessarily teaching content. People should be able to walk into our spaces, feel welcomed and like they belong. One way I think we can accomplish this initial feeling of hospitality is by having a... 

Focused Welcome Team 

When I say focused, I simply means a genuine "I'm excited that you're here" attitude. Focused volunteers know their roles and are excited about playing a part in the big picture. 

You might jump to the conclusion that only extroverts can be on the welcome team. NOT TRUE! Every personality type has a genuine excitement, it just may be expressed differently. If people are genuinely excited about new people coming into your ministry, then that is going to come out of every personality. This genuine excitement starts with you as the leader. 

You have to model that genuine excitement for new people. This should spill over into your every day life. Show your people how it's done by actually being excited (but not weird) when you meet new people. Take an interest, ask questions, and listen. Don't be too busy with tasks to model how to make connections.

Another important aspect to the welcome team is energy levels. You, the leader, have to be even more excited than your volunteers. They are going to feed off your energy whether you realize it or not. Again, this doesn't just apply for extroverts. You don't have to be hyped up like a camp counselor, but you do have to show genuine excitement even if you feel out of your comfort zone. So, if you want to have a genuine welcome wagon, model that in front of your volunteers. 

If you currently don't have a welcome team, start building one! Start praying for volunteers / leaders to rise up in your ministry. Next, ask people. One of the best things we can do for people is to empower them by recognizing skills, such as hospitality, and asking them to use those skills! - JJ  

JJ Campbell is a true southern girl who values sweet tea and making people feel at home no matter where they are. She is on staff at Vertical Church and with the 242 Network. Her roles at Vertical and 242 center around communication, events, and hospitality. 

She also enjoys "old lady" hobbies like crochet and scrapbooking. If you catch her at the right time, she'll make you a hat or a scarf.