I recently ran across this on post my Facebook feed (the friend’s name has been obscured to protect her church staff):
Within three days, more than 20 comments or replies of agreement were made. Interestingly, nobody spoke up to defend the volunteer t-shirt.
It would seem that people, especially in the South, have an acute dislike for the now-decade-old trend in clothing church volunteers in matching, bright-colored, amorphous, cotton/poly blend, boxy shirts.
The origins of the idea make perfect sense. Your front line hospitality team should be easily identifiable. And what better way to be seen than a welcome-emblazoned logo-ed shirt?
However, wearing the same t-shirt every week can get old very quickly. Few people desire to look the same week in and week out, especially at church. Even fewer desire to put on (and then take back off) a big, bulky t-shirt over their clothes in a church hallway or classroom.
And the biggest challenge with the volunteer t-shirt is this: The ONE Sunday we would like to have our volunteers MOST identifiable is also the ONE Sunday that church members think the MOST about what they will be wearing to worship: Easter Sunday.
If t-shirts are mandatory for your team, and you are struggling to retain leaders, the shirts may be a bigger part of your problem than you realize. The last thing you want is for your volunteers to dread the days they are called to serve because of a t-shirt.
So what should a savvy hospitality team leader do?
Well, if a high-quality, well-designed, volunteer lanyard is not enough (for some strange reason), you could always test out some other ways to easily identify Guest Services team members. I would even try some that, by comparison, would make wearing a simple t-shirt to church every week seem awesome.
Here are four brilliant alternatives to the volunteer team T-shirt:
The Volunteer Big-Box Retail Vest.
The Volunteer Party Headband
The Volunteer Hipster Beanie
The Volunteer Barista Smock
“How can we best identify our Guest Services team?”
Using a unique blend of worship-observation and team-process, Auxano Navigators leverage the experience of more than 500 Sunday Guest Perspective Evaluations to answer questions like this and more. After more than 14 years of experience and unparalleled thought leadership in church consulting, we are excited to share these answers (real ones… not satirical photoshopped answers) with churches large and small through our Guest Experience Boot Camp.
Click here to learn more about bringing your team to this collaborative two-day event coming up February 21-22 in sunny and warm Phoenix, Arizona.
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