Outreach Skill #6: The Heart of Hospitality

In the busyness of logistics and program delivery, hospitality often becomes an afterthought rather than a priority. Yet exemplary service and care for visiting teams should be the ultimate aim behind every effort.

Unfortunately, miscommunications, disjointed coordination, and lack of intentional focus on meeting needs threaten to make guests feel more like a burden than a blessing. Reigniting the spirit of wholehearted service transforms outreach.

Overcoming Hospitality Hurdles

Various factors can slowly erode hospitality over time. Common pitfalls include:

Assuming needs – Taking guesswork over inquiring directly about preferences

Fragmented communication – Details fall through cracks between departments

Reactive, not proactive – Just responding versus anticipating desires

Treating as transactions – Focusing on program over personalized care

Lack of shared vision – Volunteers not grasping the why behind extra effort

But refocusing on hospitality as ministry rather than merely logistics renews motivation and excellence.

Principles of Serving Well

Several best practices help teams feel valued:

Understand needs proactively – Regular check-ins on health, moods, and satisfaction

Communicate with empathy – Listen well. Provide reassurance during frustrations

Go above and beyond – Handle even unreasonable requests with grace

Share vision – Remind volunteers they’re caring for Christ’s messengers

Add personal touches – Use names, share meals, give small gifts of appreciation

Resolve issues promptly – Quickly address problems with transparency and solutions

Strengthening Hospitality Skills

Equipping hospitality teams includes training on:

  • Crafting warm welcomes first impressions matter
  • Regular temperature checks on team health, energy etc.
  • Noticing non-verbals and changes in demeanor
  • Defusing tensions calmly through listening and peacemaking
  • Fostering family atmosphere through relationship-building
  • Fielding complaints with empathy and professionalism

Keys for Coordination

Smooth hospitality requires aligning various departments. Useful approaches include:

  • Shared contact list – staff has access to team leader info as needed
  • Prep meetings – discuss unique needs, proactively planning touches
  • Feedback channels – ways to quickly address issues arising
  • Updated protocols – checklists ensuring consistency despite volunteer turnover
  • Instant communication – connecting staff to handle surprises in real time
  • Recognition – thanking volunteers making teams feel special

The heart of the gospel is embodied through selfless hospitality. Staying attentive to needs ushers in a spirit of renewed purpose that permeates outreach.

Making Progress in the Journey

Gaining ground in hospitality occurs through small, patient steps of service. Pray for eyes to see opportunities all around to extend care in even simple ways. Model hospitality’s heartbeat until it becomes contagious.

Application Questions

  • What specific hospitality weaknesses need attention currently?
  • What strengths can you build upon?
  • What initial steps could you take to improve communication and coordination?
  • How will you instill hospitality vision in volunteers?
  • What support do you need from leadership to better meet team needs?

Go to Essential Missional Leadership Skills for Outreach

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