Every Church Needs Ninjas!



  One morning I stopped at Walmart to pick up supplies for the office. When I entered the door, the greeter asked, "How are you?" I replied, "Fine, and you?" She simply nodded and repeated the question to the next person walking in behind me. As I was walking through the store, I begin to think about the door greeter. Did she really care whether or not I was having a good day? And did I care how her day was going? In reality, she asked how I was doing because she was getting paid; and I asked how she was doing because it was the polite thing to do. 


 Walmart greeters really aren't much different than our church greeters. Each Sunday they stand in an assigned spot and most of them have a rehearsed line for each person who walks through the door. While greeters are nice to have around, I have to wonder if new guests think the same thing I did at Walmart, "Do they really care how I feel today?" While I'm sure most church greeters are good, wholesome, caring people...a stationed door greeter armed with rehearsed lines week after week lacks authenticity. 


The Power of Authenticity

 So what can the church do to counter this? How can we create a more authentic hospitality experience for new people who come to our building each weekend? I suggest that you build a ninja team. I got this idea from the old Jackie Chan commercial. It’s the one where he comes out of the ceiling during an office meeting, pours a five hour energy drink in a sleepy associate’s mouth, and then quickly returns through the ceiling tile and disappears. The sleepy associate is now wide awake, looking around wondering what happened. Jackie Chan moved so quickly, and with great calculation, he accomplished his mission and the guy didn’t even know he was there. That’s what Sunday ninjas do. 


 Ninjas have a specific job. They don't wear laniards or "Ask Me!" t-shirts. They aren't positioned at the doors with rehearsed lines. Their objective isn't to have fifteen minute conversations with people; when that happens, people get missed. Their objective is to engage and celebrate people. Not just new people (that can be a challenge in a growing church); if they don't know their name, they are a target. This covers both new and returning guests. Imagine a team of people buzzing around your community area celebrating people.  Just like Jackie Chan, they move quickly, engage, and move on. New people don't know what hit them. This creates energy. Ninjas don't focus so much on "what" they do, but more so "why" they do what they do. Ninjas understand showing authentic hospitality can influence someone's heart, to the point they may come back...and hopefully meet Jesus. When your hospitality teams focus on the "why" more than the "what" they become missional. When people are on mission their focus is clear and their motives become more precise. 

Hospitality becomes Missionality (a word I made up)

Sunday ninjas can be a great asset to your church (plus it’s kinda cool to be called a ninja). They understand that engaging people with love isn’t as much hospitable, as it is missional. Here’s a cool thing I have observed in churches who have implemented Sunday ninjas. As a result of ninjas loving and celebrating people, other people, who aren’t ninjas begin doing the same thing. Do you know why? Radical hospitality is contagious. People become ninjas and don't even know it. Building intentional teams to love and celebrate people can change the culture of your church. You'll soon be known as, "The friendliest church in town."


 Discuss these questions with your hospitality teams:


1. Which areas in your church lack authenticity? How can you fix it? 


2. In addition to door greeters, what other intentional teams exists to engage people?


3. What formal hospitality training do you have in place?


4. What kind of language (insider or outsider) does your hospitality teams use? 



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