By: Danielle Wingate



As a millennial leader I love partnering with ministries or causes to ask the question, “what can we do better?” As a team grows the heart can get lost in good intentions, old ways or a culture change. In a society where guest perception is reality, it’s crucial that we work with our teams to always filter through that lens.

Currently, I serve as the Dream Team Director at Celebration Church in Austin, TX.  We recently celebrated our 16th birthday as a church, averaging about 4,000 guests every weekend.  Over the last few months as we have tracked assimilation on to teams and the culture of those teams, we identified that our Usher team really wasn’t growing and that the vision of what could be seemed a little lost in the perspective for those that have served for so long as an usher.  They are the perfect example of a much needed team, a highly crucial role for variety of reasons but one that had lost momentum.  If the vision is there and the right leaders are in place yet the team isn’t growing, we have to ask why.  

After weeks of observing, serving and gaining information we identified an opportunity for improvement, re-brand and re-launch.  The term usher is a great southern term for an older church, you say the word and immediately every church-raised person will have a picture in their mind of an experience at some point.  Next we looked into how the name translates to a 21st century consumer, highly personal culture and of course, the millennial.  For us, it didn’t fit what the team did nor what we wanted to convey in the future as the church grows.

We agreed to re-brand. Branding is the packaging that carries the item or service for everyone to see and read. Done well, it is one of the first things that will draw people into your church, your vision and ultimately the guide to get them connected.

The heart of the Usher team is simple–people that desire to help guests have a welcoming, intentional and safe experience inside the auditorium, however they do much more, so we re-branded to Auditorium Hosts. The initial energy for the leaders in the feedback stage was thrilling, after we shared “you do so much more than usher guests to their seats and receive offering. You are the last personal touch, removing any obstacles to the word of God through worship and a message. You are the one that makes the eye contact as you pass a bucket to receive offering. You are the first responder to your section if there is an emergency, the facilities crew to keep the auditorium spotless for every guest and lastly the ones that stand in the back, praying that lives would be changed today for an eternal impact.”

Our teams have loved it. It was a slight shift, but a huge win. It yielded energy and the opportunity to speak into the heart of the role and allowed us to begin to change the mindset of “this is how we have always done it” or “I’m just an Usher.”  Maybe you have a team that is on the front lines of the guest experience but it is just not where it needs to be.  

Start here:

  1. Vision – Is it clear? Consistent? Does the team know it? Does it tie into the greater vision of the organization?
  2. Right people on the bus – Good people don’t always translate to good leaders.  Sometimes seasons of leadership end or a team member isn’t operating in their strengths.  Analyze all of it and see how you can partner to make the right changes.
  3. Re-Brand to relaunch – It’s small, but powerful. If the other two went through tweaks we should always be looking at the name, the vision, the role guidelines and the overall dynamic.

If we apply the rule that “everything speaks” then know that it is sending a message. If you are a leader, then evaluate, analyze, gather information, gain buy-in and launch well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”386″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Danielle Wingate is the Dream Team Director at Celebration Church in Austin, TX where she lives with her husband, Chris and daughter, Emmaus.  Her passion is to equip the local church to have a global impact and inspire leaders to continue raising the bar towards excellence.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]