What Tom Cruise Can Teach Pastors About The Value Of Key Volunteers
“You guys (ushers) keep people coming to the movies. You guys run the cinema and make it an enjoyable experience. You guys I value most of all.” – Tom Cruise
During the week I am a Generosity Architect for Injoy Stewardship Solutions helping pastors and church leaders craft mission and vision. On weekends, however, I serve with my wife on the Hospitality Team at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA.
To many in our church I simply hand out bulletins, help people find seats, and smile A LOT. I am reminded of this because whenever I speak, train volunteers, or have someone discover this blog, I often then hear, “Wow, who knew? I thought you were just a greeter.”
Upon hearing those words, I am always very gracious because I know they were meant as a compliment and am thankful. It also reminds me that the concept of effective ministry for many church leaders needs expanding.
The Barna Group once did a study stating over 90% of church visitors know within the first 12 minutes if they will be returning to a church or not. A separate study also revealed that over 90% of church visitors state their #1 reason for returning to a church was because of the pastor. The irony of this study is that a pastor is rarely part of the first 12 minutes. What these two independent studies teach us is that the people are truly a picture of the leader.
This brings me to Hollywood movie star Tom Cruise.
With his new movie Jack Reacher opening this weekend, co-star Rosamund Pike made an interesting observation about Cruise in the December 18th of USA Today. While at the film’s premier in Stockholm, Pike noticed Cruise’s interaction with the theater’s ushers. She said, “He stopped and said: ‘You guys keep people coming to the movies. You guys run the cinema and make it an enjoyable experience. You guys I value most of all.’”
Pastors, the following is a list of people your visitors encounter in the first 12 minutes as they arrive on your campus:
- Parking Team
- Information Desk Workers
- Hospitality (coffee) Team
- Children’s Welcome Desk
- Nursery and Pre-School Workers
- More Greeters
- More Greeters
- And let’s not forget those leading the opening song
Pastors, when is the last time you personally thanked each hospitality team member for their contributions to the success of your ministry? Like Tom Cruise, have you ever said to your volunteers, “You guys keep people coming to church. You guys run the parking lot, the lobby, the childrens’ area, and the sanctuary. You make it an enjoyable experience. You guys I value most of all.”
Most pastors I have met do a tremendous job honoring their hospitality team members. But if Tom Cruise can say those words to ushers at a movie theater, how much more important is it for all pastors to say it to their team?
While many see me as just a person who ”hands out bulletins”, here is how I view my responsibilities: I have never found a parking space for someone who God doesn’t have space for in Heaven. I have never placed a bulletin into the hands of a person whose Christ’s hands weren’t pierced for. And I have never found a seat for someone who Jesus isn’t seated on the right hand of God interceeding for.
I also count it a true honor to be a reflection of my pastor Crawford Loritts. My attitudes and actions, as are those of our entire Hospitality team, provide a picture for our visitors of his leadership. Our goal is to remove all the barriers that could prevent a person from hearing a life-changing message.
Pastors and church leaders, does Cruise’s words ring true for you?
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