“Good company upon the road is the shortest cut.” – Author Unknown
Making your church more relational is important regardless of it’s size. In small churches it’s often assumed everyone knows everyone and so as leaders we don’t work to ensure that people are connecting. In medium size churches we’re embarrassed that we don’t know everyone anymore and might be paralyzed to try to help people connect. Large churches need to work strategically to fight the “we’re too big” sentiment that can easily arise. Although the best place for people to develop relationships within your church is going to be on a service team or in a small group we can still make our weekend services have relational elements. Here are a few ways your church can be more relational this coming weekend:
- Add Some Coffee // Something almost magical happens when coffee is available in any environment … it makes it more relational. It slows people down from just rushing out at the end of the service. Even the big football player type guy can be intimidated to talk to other people but when he has cup of good coffee in his hand he’s comfortable to chat it up.
- Start a Foyer Team // Find your most out going (and not creepy!) volunteers and ask them to help “connect people” in the foyer. Charge them with “swimming” the foyer before and after your services to find people who might be just “standing around” and approach them to get to know them. Ask them to make introductions between people … like a great party host. The key to this team is that the aren’t at some “post” to stand there and do a specific job … their role is to move around the foyer to find people to connect and welcome.
- Add Conversations Prompts During the Service // Why not add some fun conversation starters to your service next weekend and see what happens? Near the beginning of the service ask people to turn to someone they don’t know and answer a simple and fun question. Don’t make it too complex … something that can just spark a small conversation. Hopefully these small interactions will break the ice and make it easier to connect after the service.
- “New Here?” Strategy // How do you acknowledge people who are new to your church? Make sure to take time out during the service to acknowledge people who are new to your church … and give them a sense of how they can take some initial steps into community. Lots of churches offer some sort of “first time guest gift” for people when they arrive … everybody loves get a gift!
- Name Tags // We’ve talked about this before in a previous post entitled “5 Reasons Your Church Should Offer Name Tags Every Sunday“. Read & apply.
- Social … Social Media // Are you using your social media for more than just a place to spam about your latest stuff happening at your church? What if you used your social media channels to be … social? Take some pictures of volunteers and thank them with a picture on Facebook … people will get to know names and faces by seeing them online plus the volunteers will feel great. When people talk about your church online … thank them for the promotion. Ask questions on your social channels and then respond as a real person.
- Clear & Easy Next Steps // How easy is it for people to get onto a service team or into a small group? What could you do to make it twice as easy as it is today? Providing über clear “next steps” is critical for churches to become more relational. Every weekend people arrive at your church wanting to “get plugged in” … are you read for them when they are ready for you? (Or do you make them wait for a special time during the year?) How can you make it even clearer how people can find their place in the community?
- Add Play to the Service // At it’s core friendship is just shared experiences. What if you did something really fun in an upcoming service so people have some sort of shared experience? Throw out some beach balls during a high energy worship song on a long weekend. Put a mini golf set in the foyer as people arrive to play together. Hand out popcorn to highlight a message that’s going to use some movie clips to tell a point. Find something fun for your people to participate in together … and you’d be amazed the relationships that will begin to develop.
I know you are are more relational than me! What are some ways you’ve made your weekend services relational? I’d love you to leave a comment and join the conversation!