hosts vs. hawkers

Just a simple question today about how we train our college ministry’s Greeting Team (you do train them, right?):

Do the front-line students (or other volunteers) in your ministry act more like hosts or hawkers?

In my recent vacation, my wife and I had the chance to visit a few “fancy” places along the way – restaurants and hotels – where the customer service was top-notch. The front-line staff – hostesses, valets, front desk people, etc. – often did a great job of making us feel very welcome. (This can happen in non-“fancy” places, too, of course!)

But we also visited Maine’s Fryeburg Fair, a famed New England gathering of exhibitions, animals, crafts, booths, and carnival games.

There’s a lot of “hosting” happening at a fair, too. For instance, the carneys running the games have apparently found success with the high-pressure tactic of trying to reel people in to throw darts, guess a number, and win prizes. (My wife isn’t a big fan of that form of “hosting.”)

But it’s easy for our own greeters to come off more like the latter than the former – in part because we are hoping to recruit new students all the time.

Have you taken an honest look recently at how your front-line volunteers might appear to a stranger or someone else relatively new to your campus ministry? This doesn’t just include students greeting at a Large Group Meeting; true “hosts” should be found at info tables, passing out fliers, recruiting on campus, doing announcements, and anywhere else people are encountering your ministry for the first time.


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