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Investing in Large Group Hosts

Today's article is a guest post from my friend, Eric Gayer. Eric is the Executive Director of Family Life at Lifegate Church. Lifegate Church is a growing, multi-site church in the Omaha, Nebraska area. In this article, Eric talks about investing in large group hosts.

Several years ago, I attended a destination wedding, at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. It was an incredible experience - beautiful beaches, snorkeling, sparkling pools and great food. But there was one thing that stood out to me that I did not anticipate. One evening we attended some of the resort's evening entertainment. Sitting in the audience, I remarked to my wife that we needed to hire the emcee of the program for our ministry. (Never mind that I didn't know where he stood with Jesus and getting him to move from the Caribbean to the Midwest would be a tough sell.) He was so effective at what he did! Here are some things that stood out to me about how he led:

  • He was high energy. We all know it - as the leader goes, so the group goes. We tell our upfront hosts they can expect the group to be about 70% as excited as they are, at best. They have to lead with lots of energy and enthusiasm!

  • He kept things moving. The time was well-organized and well-executed. All props were ready, participants were selected quickly, the games had simple instructions and he didn't take a lot of time getting into the action.

  • He made fun the priority. He was having fun himself, and he made sure everyone, participants and spectators alike, enjoyed the experience as well. The audience understood and felt like they were a part of what was happening. At the end, even the losing participant didn't feel like a loser; it was all about helping everyone have fun.

When we returned, I did my best to convince my boss that he should pay for me and a couple of key leaders to go back and learn from this resort...but to no avail. It did make me wonder though, if it wouldn't it be worth our while to go where others are doing the job of hosting well with the goal of learning from them. We've talked about taking our leaders to a major league baseball game and gathering afterwards as a team to discuss what we could learn from the person who runs the games between innings. That would be a more accessible example of someone functioning in the role that we call our upfront hosts to do on a weekly basis, since both jobs are trying to engage a large audience within tight time restraints. So whether you take your team to an all inclusive resort (I'm sure they'd be on board), a minor league baseball game or you just watch Ellen's Game of Games together, be proactive in training up great large group presenters! Your ministry will only be the better for it. Great article Eric, especially resonated with the hosts setting the pace for the energy and excitement level in the room. Readers, if you have any thoughts, insight or comments about investing in large group hosts, share it with us in the comment section below.

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