We are looking at practical ways to show the love of Jesus to others as we practice radical hospitality. Last time we saw that we must be seriously aware of:
1> The power of the words that we choose to use and not use
2> The need to make time and take time to befriend others
Today let’s look at several other things that we can focus on to help others to become part of the life of God as expressed and experienced in the local church.
3> Invite your family and friends – people you already have a relationship with
The greatest marketing tool we have in the Church that Jesus is building is the words spoken by a “satisfied customer.” Those who are connected to and appreciate the life that they find in a local church speaking to and inviting others is the most powerful way to attract people to the Church and eventually to the Saviour. By far and away the most powerful attractor to church is word of mouth – a friend inviting a friend a family member inviting a family member.
So, instead of mail-out flyers and fancy advertising gimmick simply encourage family and friends to invite THEIR family and friends. But make sure that what you are inviting them to is something more than a cliche of church. We need to be constantly reminded of the importance of a personal touch as seen through a personal invite to attend.
4> Understand the power of names
People of all ages love to hear others use, remember, or call their names. Instead of making excuses for not remembering names, find ways for you and your leadership team to improve and always remember a name the first time that you hear it.
Then, help everyone in your church to learn and remember each other’s names. Wear name tags, if needed. Do mixers and icebreakers every time that you get together. Play simple games that encourage people to use their names. Say a person’s name every time you talk to them. It’s affirming, and no one can get too much affirmation.
The Bible states that God knows our name. “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
To enable us to know and remember names – and thus become better acquainted we should focus on the next idea
5> Get better acquainted through personal storytelling
It is important to give people nonthreatening ways to learn about each other. The easiest way is to simply ask people to share something about themselves that can’t be interpreted as right or wrong. It’s a part of their story – their personal history. Children and adults love to talk about themselves. In fact, we are our favourite subject of conversation. So we can incorporate a “tell about a time…” segment into our fellowship time together. Simply find ways to ask people to tell about their lives.
The beauty of this technique is that people can choose to share at whatever level they find comfortable. It is like deciding which end of the pool you want to enter – the shallow or the deep end. It is up to you.
You could use some of the following – borrowed from a ministry that excels in helping people get to know others in the group…
Share a story of a failure that you survive
Tell about either the worst job or the best job you have ever had
When was a time in your life when someone would have described you as a “glass half-empty” sort of person?
Tell about a time it felt as if your life was going up in flames
Tell about something from your childhood that’s been tough to deal with
Tell about a time when you struggled to forgive. What happened … and how do you feel about it now?
People are an important focus in the church that Jesus is building. And we need to concentrate on ways to make people feel welcomed and important.