Practical Strategy for Developing High-Capacity Volunteers with Danny Franks

Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast! This week I’m chatting with a repeat guest, Danny Franks, Pastor of Guest Services at The Summit Church. The Summit Church has twelve locations around North Carolina and the heart of the church is set on sending. They continually want their people to be asking: how does God want to use me and send me?

As a church grows, it’s not uncommon for the culture and DNA to get watered down. The Summit Church realized that as they launched more campuses and moved to a central model, the guest experience looked drastically different from one campus to another. Listen in as Danny shares how to examine your church’s DNA and replicate it by developing high-capacity volunteers that will in turn invest in others.

  • We can’t send people that we don’t keep. // In order to be a good sending church, we first need to learn how to be a good receiving church. For The Summit Church this meant taking a good look at their guest services experience at each of their campuses. Guest services covers a person’s visit from the street to the seat and everything in between. It’s about making sure the church is doing everything it can to help its guests know that they’ve been expected, planned for, and that the church is excited to have them return.
  • What is your DNA? // To create a uniform guest services experience at each of your campuses, first ask: What is our DNA when it comes to caring for guests? It will be a process to talk through who the church is and what it looks like to welcome guests well and help them take their next step toward the gospel. After a lot of prayer and discussion through these questions, Danny developed a High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort to help communicate the church’s DNA surrounding guest services clearly to all the campuses.
  • Identify your high-capacity volunteers. // The High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort is an eight-month journey where a small group of two to five volunteers from each campus come together. At The Summit Church there are about thirty volunteers that are a part of the Cohort at one time. They meet each month for an hour and a half to discuss books and principles that help everyone understand what the church’s DNA is. The books cover a wide swath of topics and serve as a springboard for the monthly conversation and there is always a practical component to what they teach. Ultimately the goal of the Cohort is to equip volunteers to be better leaders.
  • Invest and Influence. // As the Pastor of Guest Services, Danny has a dotted line relationship with the Guest Services Directors at each campus. They report directly to the campus pastor and may be responsible for guest services as well as things like small groups and membership. Sometimes all of their responsibilities feel like an impossible task but when they are identifying high-capacity volunteers who are in turn trained, they are replicating themselves in a smaller group that can then go on to invest in and influence others. The Cohort process has allowed the Directors to be more like shepherds and less like administrators. And it’s empowered volunteers to find areas of need where they can pitch in and help with specific problems.
  • Where to begin? // You don’t have to be a multisite church or a mega church to start a High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort. Any leader should be looking for who their high-capacity people are and invest in them. The first question to ask as a leader is what’s the win? What are you trying to accomplish with this cohort? What is your timeframe? Your cohort doesn’t have to last 8 months – you can do a smaller, focused version over six weeks. Next define the parts of that DNA that you want to clearly communicate. If you have trouble identifying who your high-capacity volunteers are, that may indicate there is a problem with your leadership pipeline. Something needs to shift to make sure you are regularly identifying and bringing in those potential high-capacity people. Also be aware of not having a clear end goal in sight. For more tips on how to begin, download this PDF: High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort: A How-To Guide.
  • Resources for your cohort. // Danny has a wealth of resources on his website, including articles, workshops, training events, a coaching network and more, that you can access by visiting In addition, a great book to read with your cohort would be People are the Mission: How Churches Can Welcome Guests Without Compromising the Gospel. In it Danny shows churches how to take a balanced approach to hospitality by developing ministries that are guest-friendly from the outset and gospel-centric to their core. Churches will learn not only how to effectively bring people in and convince them to stay, but also why our hospitality to honor the stranger doesn’t stand in opposition to honoring the Savior. Lastly, download this PDF for an overview of The Summit Church’s High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort: Guest Services 2020.

To connect with Danny Franks, reach out to him on Twitter @letmebefranks, and learn more about The Summit Church by visiting their website.

Thank You for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally!

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live!

Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Risepointe

Is your church ready? Are you re-opening? Ready to welcome MORE people to worship and grow with your church? Are you out of space or are your interiors dated and needing improvement?

The architecture and design team at Risepointe want to help you align your facility with the mission and vision that God has given your church. That’s why Risepointe developed The Needs Analysis. The Needs Analysis is a comprehensive look at your site to seat experience through the lens of your first time guests. Learn more by visiting Let them know you heard about The Needs Analysis on unSeminary for $500 off!

Leave a Response

Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.