Welcoming Guests without Compromising the Gospel with Danny Franks
Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. This week we’re joined by Danny Franks, the Pastor of Guest Services at The Summit Church in the triangle region of North Carolina. The Summit Church has a goal to plant 1000 churches in this generation, and part of that success depends on how they welcome people who visit the church.
Today Danny is with us to talk about the importance of getting into the heads of your guests so you can receive and serve them well.
- Keep your guest in mind. // As church leaders, we might not think about the discomfort we’re asking people to submit themselves to when they show up to a strange place for the very first time. At the Summit Church, Danny really works to get into the minds of their guests. Think about what your guests need to know when they come to your church. What questions might they be asking? What are things that would make them feel comfortable versus very, very uncomfortable? Watch carefully for things that could be confusing and need to be interpreted for your guests. For example, how can you help them understand what communion is and what it means to eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus? How can you explain baptisms, the offering, or theological terms? Keeping your guest in mind isn’t about glossing over the Gospel, it’s about breaking down barriers and helping your guest to understand things that are completely foreign to them.
- More than just coffee. // If you don’t think about how guest services is connecting to the mission and vision of your church, it can feel like what you do is just fluff. But as Danny explains, “We’re not trying to simply park cars and pour coffee.” The Summit Church works hard to give their guests an excellent guest service experience, not to impress them with their systems, but to point beyond the process to Jesus. Guest services is ultimately about taking the biblical command of hospitality and putting that together on an institutional level. Ultimately what our guests need is Jesus, but when they first show up at church, they don’t know that all that they need is Jesus. You need to be able to build a relationship with them first, and oftentimes that happens before you introduce them to a relationship with Jesus. However if their visit isn’t stewarded well, you may not ever get that chance.
- Serve your city. // If there’s one bit of advice Danny could give to any church out there who wants to improve their guest services experience, it’s to define where you are now and where you want to go. Begin by asking yourself how you can serve your city better. What would make people feel welcome at your church? Start here and make changes little by little.
Danny has written a book called People Are the Mission to answer the questions like the ones asked during today’s podcast. You can get a study guide to go along with Danny’s book at peoplearethemission.com, or learn more from Danny at his website www.dfranks.com.
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Helpful Tech Tools // Google’s new Team Drive
Ministries Following // Christ’s Church of the Valley
Influential Book // The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath
Inspiring Leader // Any Disney imagineers; Sam James, the founding pastor of the Summit Church
What you do for fun // Reading, Being a foodie with his wife