Dan Hallock, pastor of Cedarhome Baptist Church in Stanwood, Washington, recently wrote this to his key leaders. A great example of helping your leaders create a church culture that is hospitable, loving, and sticky!
Hello Church Leaders!
I praise God that we’ve had many visitors on Sunday mornings over the past six weeks! As a leader of people in our church, YOU play an integral part in helping people “stick” to our church family! Here are four ways I need you to help do that:
1) Take No Person for Granted! We cannot take it for granted that new people will visit our church. When new faces are in our midst, we leaders must bend over backwards to welcome them and to love them with Jesus’ love. When new people fill out a connection card or show up to our community group or ministry for the first time, it’s a huge deal! We’ve got to remember that. And when anyone RETURNS to any of our ministry events, regardless of how long they’ve been coming, we cannot take them for granted. Thank them. Love on them. Serve them. And when people are missing, then call them, text them, ask them how they’re doing, and let them know that they are missed!
2) Pursue People, and Then Get to Know Them! Actively look for new faces on Sunday mornings and at your ministry events. Then, physically get over to the new person, smile, and introduce yourself. THEN, demonstrate that your concern for them is greater than just greeting them. Show that you really want to know them by asking them about themselves and their family. Lots of people say “hi;” few people take time to get to know others. Work HARD to learn names. Pay attention the first time someone tells you their name. And when you forget their name, then have the courage to ask them again—even if it’s the third time you’ve asked! Just really try to pay attention when they tell you, and then figure out a way to remember their name.
3) Get Their Contact Info! Perhaps just as important as a new person’s first visit to an event is the follow-up care that he/she receives soon after that. Some people will say hi to you at church when you’re new; even fewer will take time to get to know you; and even fewer will make an effort to follow-up on you. What if we could give a follow-up call, email, and gift to every first/second time visitor, and then check in on them four weeks and six months later and ask them how they’re doing and how we can help them connect at Cedarhome!?
None of these things are possible if they do not give us any way to contact them. As leaders, we’ve got to point new people to the connection card—even if we just get an email address or phone number! Let people know that we’re really glad they’re here, and we want to get to know them better!
4) Follow-Up! Let’s make it a priority to use the contact info people give us to email, call, and visit new people—especially if it’s a person that you personally met. If/when they return to church or to your ministry, then make a B-line to them when you see them and welcome them back! People need to know that we’re not faking our interest in them; we’re not faking our gladness that they’ve returned to be with us.
Leaders, I praise God for your love for the Lord and for people! Let’s do our best not to let people fall through the cracks. Let’s do all we can from our end to help people “stick” at Cedarhome!
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)