Our church has taken the last year to determine not only our core beliefs, but our core values. As a staff and a church in our local community, it was decided that our number one core value is hospitality.
Hospitality is any opportunity to show over-the-top love and care. In true edit-to-excellence mode, the kidmin team has been evaluating our family’s experiences with an informal hospitality audit from the pre-visit through dismissal.
Intentional Pre-visit experience should include
- Overcommunicating where to park, enter, and what to bring (most non-typical item first), then we know where to jack up the greet/sign-in/place additional information, and signage at registration.
- Consistent start times. Families don’t have time to wait, so CLUB345 begins at 3:45, Bible study always starts at 6:30pm on a Tuesday (but we are ready at 6pm to build in margin for chatting and relationship-building).
- Consistent end times. No one likes finishing late. Everyone expects to finish on time. Everyone likes finishing early. Family schedules are too tight to add to their stress. This attention to time builds trust.
- Communicate Sunday info on Tuesday AND Thursday to give time for weekend planning and the checking of emails.
- Update social media the morning of a special so that families can easily find the info at the top of the social media feed.
- Online registration confirmation reads, “All communication for this event will be by the email address used for this registration.” By communicating several times to that email address beforehand, we build energy.
- Space looks updated, clean, sharp, and intentional. Be a good sharer of spaces because most people don’t know how to do it well. Tip: Walk the entrance, hallway, and rooms. Wash the windows, doors, light switches, throw away the clutter or buy storage bins which look like we are ready for company all the time. Add mulch/pine straw and flowers at the entrance all your families use to attend your programs on a regular, scheduled basis.
- It matters how people feel BEFORE the experience and AT THE END of the experience, so be sure to ask, “How will this space/event/experience make someone feel walking in?, Waiting for pickup?, At closing, Whey someone is walking out the door?”
With the eyes of a parent/grandparent, we ask…“Have we made it easy for families to know the what, when, where, who of Sunday morning and any special event?”
– Communicate where to park, then we know where to focus the greatest attention to visual elements..
– Consistent update the website. Develop a system and shared process for everyone, then do updates early and with great joy.
– Check the website weekly for what applies to the children and check ALL the registration links.
Thirty to 45-minutes prior to all activities/events I walk through ALL of our spaces picking up remnants of ‘whatever’ from the floors, turn on all the lights, check the temperature, empty the dehumidifiers (our space is underground and surrounded by trees), open all the doors, check the bathrooms that all are working for supplies, and basically inspect to set aright all the spaces shared by littles and the bigs who serve them.
- Is our dismissal (ending experience) as great as our arrival experience?
Story: What we saw in our auditing our Sunday morning dismissal experience is that we had a couple of runners (students who didn’t want to wait until their parents picked them up) and students who crowded the exit door waiting for their parents, requiring our team to likely ask students to step back, and not crowd. We felt like we were fussing at the kids. Not a great dismissal experience. Talking through multiple scenarios, we now return all the students to the Welcome Center where they play games with friends until called by walkie-talkie to exit through another doorway. No more crowding nor running, and kids are laughing and playing. What we say to them as they leave is a blessing. Their last experience is with a smile and a ‘kind send off’ into the world . Their ending experience is as good as their all-morning experience.
- Goal: I’m shooting for visit #3. “Do what you do so well that kids will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney
- Goal: I’m shooting for another connection. With multiple onramps, we can target what would be a natural next step in discipleship for a family.
- Goal: What will be so greatly consistent, one of our own will want to invite someone else from their team, class, neighborhood, school, server at the local restaurant they frequent, to come to their church? Be ready to ask a kid, “Who can you bring next time?”
- Ask: How can what we do in kidmin hospitality be a blessing to others in the church outside kidmin? We are not responsible for every area, but we are responsible for all the areas and experiences of our own.
Story: Last Sunday was the first chilly morning of the season. I picked up 3 gallons of apple cider to set up a hot apple cider station in the Children’s Welcome Center. The Children’s Welcome Center opens 30 minutes before all other programming on campus. The kids who came early enjoyed hot apple cider to taste and smell. A really great smell! Once Sunday school started, we moved the hot apple cider station to the gathering outside the Children’s Welcome Center with a balloon which read, “Happy Fall” to share with those who linger between services in that space and a senior saints Sunday school which meets in their large group after.
Story: I wash the glass doors where my families enter and church greeters stand because a beautiful day has got to be seen clearly.
Story: Since most of our kidmin families enter through those glass doors from the parking lot, I pay a lot of attention to that entrance so it looks attractive and welcoming, uncluttered and ‘prepared for company’. I’ve invited several folks who love to play in the dirt to update the island flower beds for fall/winter including pine straw.
What does an edit to excellence of hospitality look like in your ministry with children and families? I’m always wondering, “What am I missing?”