by Janel Horrocks-Boehmer
Chair, Hospitality Task Force
The Vital Church Initiative Hospitality Team would like to update you on our progress. We are actively working with Prescription 3, the Sunday morning experience at University UM Church. Prescription 3a prescribes that our church develop and implement a process to track and intentionally connect with all new persons to our congregation. Prescription 3d has to do with required training for our greeters and ushers related to providing this hospitality. Our training principles are based on materials written by experts in this field.
Our team members started in the parking lot and entered UUMC as an apprehensive, unsure “guest.” With a focus on intentional hospitality and the Sunday morning experience where each of our guests feel comfortable and valued, we evaluated the 7-minute window of opportunity that we have with each new guest from the parking lot until the worship service starts. UUMC is continually hosting new attendees with three or more groups of guests each week.
To make the gathering and garden areas more visually appealing and accommodating, we moved the Welcome desk to the side. We are incorporating a team approach of greeting which includes having greeters at the doors and stairs, connectors, ushers, persons at the Welcome desk and the pastors. Following the prescriptions and recommendations in our readings, the task force is embracing coffee and refreshments in Asbury Hall, the Gathering and Garden areas and the entire church facility. Further, our intent is to provide a warm, positive and welcoming experience for all guests.
We are designing a “connecting card” with the goal of effectively collecting information on guests and regular attendees. We are also refining a protocol for follow-through in order to maintain a connection with and provide information to guests. An event is being planned to recognize and thank all of the individuals that have served in the capacity of greeting including connectors, greeters, ushers, and welcomers. Additional required training designed around these prescriptions will be held this fall.
With both of our summer services and the new school year ahead, our real challenge is for each of us to see ourselves as instrumental in the greeting process from the parking lot to the pew. We encourage each of you (kids and adults) to sign up to greet, help with coffee and help people out of their cars. If we create a warm, welcoming, accepting and sincere environment, we will excite people to visit us again and again and allow each of our guests to develop their spirituality and realize the love of God.
The Hospitality Team welcomes your comments and particularly welcome your participation in the current work we’re doing and in the exciting planning and training ahead of us as we seek to carry out the mission of the church.