Making the Most of Every Ministry Contact: Part 3

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

There is a new question that churches across the country are beginning ask themselves: “What is our SLA to our congregation?”

Does a first-time visitor get a call within one day, two days, a week of their visit?

What is the turnaround time from someone indicating interest in volunteering and them serving? This answer may change depending on the ministry, position, and training required. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the need to determine (and document) these kinds of expectations and pieces to the process.

How can the church improve a process if the process is not documented? How can the senior staff hold their team accountable for making calls if there are no guidelines?

While working with a church staff, I asked, “Who handles the calls to first time visitors?”  The response I received was more like a Seinfield episode than you might expect. Each person pointed to someone else, and said he/she makes the calls. It was during that meeting that they realized there was no documentation for their process. One pastor asked, “Are we even calling people?”  No one could answer with 100% certainty.

When you start monitoring contact items and find contacts that have gone untouched for two weeks or longer, what should you do? If the SLA is one week then you can say, “Our commitment level to first time visitor contacts is one week. Is that time frame too short? Are you understaffed and unable to meet our current goal for contacting first time guests in one week? Are there any key volunteers that you can get to help you make these calls?”

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. And you can’t fix a process that isn’t documented and adhered to.

The most important thing that I want you to take away from this series is that God has brought people in contact with your church and how you respond to those people can have eternal consequences. Why take chances with half-baked processes or bad practices because you have always done it that way. Now is the time to evaluate, measure, and change for the better.    

To learn more about how FellowshipOne can help your church improve processes and make better connections with first time visitors, click here.