by Mark Waltz, Executive Pastor

I’ve been asked lately about some bottom-line “musts” to establish and/or take guest services excellence to the next level. This isn’t an exhaustive list (that’s why I wrote a few books on the topic), but these core essentials will provide a foundation to make your service to guests excellent and personable.

  • Leadership:
    • Are the right leaders in place?
    • Do they carry the DNA, mission, vision and values of the church?
    • Do they hold the experience of the guest as a top priority over personal convenience?
    • Are they gifted leaders—not merely doers (although they may do fantastic work)?
    • Do these leaders have chemistry, trust and love for each other?
    • Do they model the level of personable service you want every team member to practice?
  • Values:
    • Are values defined and communicated (whatever those are: Team, Engagement, Next Steps, People Matter, etc.)?
    • Are teams using those values as lenses to serve guests? That is, are they operating from a motivation of values rather than mere technical training or a task list?
  • Systems:
    • Are systems defined and functioning so guests are served well?
    • Are systems facilitated and owned by team members who utilize those systems to serve people?
    • Do systems help team members understand their schedule, expectations, and feedback loop?

Of course if you’re providing guest services in the local church, it’s assumed, but should be stated—the love of God in Jesus motivates everything you do. It is the number one driving value. Helping people experience the grace of God is the point—or there is none.

Courtesy Netflix
by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

You can always tell when the script is being used. You know what I mean. You’re engaged in lively conversation over a meal and your server interrupts with the scripted dessert monologue. Or your talking with customer service on the phone and you don’t feel heard at all, because the same script is repeated over and over regardless what you say.

I hate the script. It’s annoying and sad. Annoying, because I feel insulted. Sad, because the service representative isn’t empowered to think and interact like a person.

Netflix customer service rep Michael wrote his own script. Maybe you heard about it. If not, I’ll brief you. (If you already know about this, you’re already this far into my post—you might as well finish it out. Humor me.)

Customer Norm entered an online chat to find a solution for a non-stop, repeating cycle of Parks and Recreation. He got more than a chat. He was welcomed into a conversation with “Captain Mike of the Good Ship Netflix.” Norm played along and introduced himself as Lt. Norm. Here’s a portion of their chat:

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

by Mark Waltz, Executive Pastor


We’ve done some informal surveys and discovered that when people decide to go to church for the first time, or they decide to go to church again after years of not attending anywhere, they often do so with a fair amount of fear. They have not-so-fond memories, or they’ve heard stuff through popular media, and they enter our church—or any church—with a fair amount of hesitation, even fear.

  • How will I know where to go?
  • Will they ask for my money?
  • How will I know when to sit, stand or kneel?
  • Will I be the only “normal” person there?

We want every person who decides to attend our church—especially those filled with fear and apprehension—to feel “at home," welcome and accepted. We want them to know we expected them; we’ve prepared for them.

Remember: we want our guests to feel “at home.” We want them to experience “familiar.” We want them to be able to drop guards and fears that keep them from experiencing the wonder of God’s love through the message of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading on Mark’s blog...

Article adapted from How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Ways to Make a Meaningful First Impression.

by Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor

I’ve said it before, and it’s still true today: One of the most enjoyable things I get to do is lead a Coaching Network for Executive Pastors. In a few of months, I’m going to offer this again. I will be meeting with 12 church leaders for a coaching experience that begins in September and concludes in December. I’m designing it specifically for Executive Pastors (or leaders in a similar role) who want to take their leadership to the next level. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but here is my best attempt:

  • It will be personal. Highly practical. Intensive. Relational. Collaborative.
  • Think less conference or workshop–and more hands-on graduate study program.
  • We will drill down on building teams, hiring and firing, developing a healthy staff culture, leading change, budget and money issues, communication strategies and more.

It’s not going to be cheap or easy. It will involve an investment of money and time, and a commitment to travel (Granger isn’t “on the way” to anywhere). But for those who join me, I promise it will be an experience that will enhance your ministry and take you to the next level of personal leadership. Here are some comments from my most recent group that just finished up last month:

  • “It was like getting three masters-level courses on being an Executive Pastor.” (Dale Roddy, Crossroads Church, Oakdale, PA)
  • “The leadership resources that Tim provided and led makes me feel like I jumped a few years in the process of development.” (Billy Creech, Lake Center Bible Church, Portage, MI)
  • “Without the opportunity to learn from the workshop sessions and the other pastors, it would have taken me nearly a decade (of successes and failures) to learn it by experiencing it first-hand. This saved us money by a factor of at least 10!” (Anonymous)
  • “The full disclosure and transparency shown to us was very much appreciated. Add to that the networking with other Executive Pastors, and the Granger resources that were given to us, and the entire experience has been the best investment to my growth since being in ministry!” (Tim Hastings, Oakridge Baptist Church, Salisbury, MD)

If you are interested, there is good news and bad news. The good news: Registration is open now, and if you act quickly, there is a good chance you can be involved. But here is the bad news: This may be the last one held at Granger and hosted by and with the Granger team. Once these 12 slots are gone—the network will be closed.

Download information here: Executive Pastors Coaching Network Fall 2014

I’m really praying that God will put together an amazing group and can’t wait to see what happens!

Not an executive pastor but still looking for insight and practical wisdom in your area of ministry? Need to be stretched, challenged and encouraged? Good news! If you're involved in communications or connections, we also offer intense, practical and personal training for you. Download the Communications or Connections & Assimilation Coaching Networks information to find out if either of these is right for you.

by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and MultiSite

I’m still processing a question posed to marketplace businesses in a recent Inc. article. Senior writer, Ilan Mochari, suggests we ask ourselves, “What business am I really in?” He writes:

Had Starbucks, at any point, convinced itself that it was strictly in the coffee business, it might never have ventured into the realm of music. Likewise, had Apple, at any point, convinced itself that it was solely in the computer business, it too might never have ventured into the realm of music. And Amazon, as we all know by now, has become far more than a book retailer. In fact, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Amazon is working on a pilot program to do its own deliveries in the so-called “last mile” from distribution centers to consumer/business addresses.

I know, I know. The local church is not Starbucks, Apple or Amazon. I also know we are criticized for adopting “business” practices, but that’s another conversation. (For now, I’ll just say—get over it. If similarities result between church and business because we strive to be responsible to God and people—well, leadership is leadership.)

Back to the question.

What if what we do as the local church is actually more than growing the local church?

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and MultiSite

Sequencing matters. Service matters. Systems matter.

And so do people.

When sequencing and systems fail to help our guests effectively experience quality service, or take practical steps toward desired outcomes, people are not valued. We don’t communicate that they matter. At least we fall obviously short.

Our connections team has been assessing processes, systems, staffing and teams that most effectively help our people take their next step toward Jesus—particularly, new guests to our church. Although someone’s very next step after an initial weekend service may be to come back the next weekend, we can’t assume that is the only step a guest may want or need to take.

How do people meet others? Find a sense of belonging? And in doing so take a step on their journey toward and with Jesus?

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

Have you heard about our One-Day Workshops? These are intense and focused, interactive learning environments that your whole team can take advantage of. Get away for one day and join us at Granger Commons on Friday, April 25 to learn more about First Impressions, Communications and Kids’ Ministry. Then stay with your team for the Arts All-Access workshop on Saturday, April 26 where you’ll go behind the scenes and attend the Saturday night service.

Did you know WiredChurches hosts workshops twice a year, led by world-class leaders in a variety of fields? And did you know they are a quick, affordable way to strengthen and inspire entire teams of people in one day? And did you also know we have a fresh batch of them coming next month?

It’s true! Now you know. Here’s what we have coming up in April—click the thumbnails for more information on each one:

Learn how to make great first impressions with the guests (old and new)
who walk in the doors of your church.

Have your message be heard loud and clear in every deliverable—
through what people read, touch or click.

From birth through fifth grade, a healthy kids’ ministry can have an enormous
impact on the children and families in our communities.

Go behind the scenes with Granger’s creative and production arts teams
to experience a download of Granger’s creative process and structure.

The First Impressions, Communications and Kids’ Ministry Workshops are one-day events that run from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on Fridays. The Arts All-Access is a Saturday workshop, from 10 a.m.–6:10 p.m. Lunch will be provided for all workshops. So come with your team on Friday and stay for Saturday’s All-Access event, which includes attending a Saturday evening service. All events are held on the Granger Community Church Campus at Granger Commons near South Bend, IN, just 90 miles east of Chicago and five miles east of the University of Notre Dame.