Every one of us longs to be accepted and loved. We strive to be in an environment where we feel like people care about us. As pastors it is extremely important for us to give every person an opportunity to feel loved and accepted when they walk into our churches. We need to change the mindset of most people and train them to reach out to one another and realize how important it is for us to show the truth of Jesus Christ to everyone. It is very easy for us to just focus on the people we are comfortable with in our lives and we miss those uncomfortable but Kingdom building moments we can have in our lives.
One of the biggest needs as people we have is to be accepted. We see that in our desire to fit in. What can we do to see that everyone is accepted and welcomed each time they walk in the door?
1) Know your people by name. Every person looks to see if you know them by name. They also look to see how you say their name. Be sure to use their name when you speak to them. I recommend saying their name at least 3 – 5 times in your first conversation with them. The very next time you see them ask them again to be sure. There is a lot of grace people give in learning their name in the first few times you talk with them.
2) Set up hosts whose job each week is to see that every person who walks in the doors are connected and followed up with. Do you have a welcome center where you can check people in and make sure you know who is coming each week? What is your plan to follow up with all of your guests.
3) Find a way to connect your guests and visitors to a significant people in your area of ministry so that they will be embraced! People may come to a big event or Sunday Service and you may or may not see them again; Have a person form a relationship in a small group and you can make a disciple.
4) Are you training your leaders to look for people who are not connected. It is easy to be friendly to those who are regulars and have an outgoing personality, but how are you relating to the people who seem lonely or hurting or need a friend? Are you training your leaders to invest in others?
Remember to always try and look at your ministry from the perspective of a first time visitor. Would you come back if you were a first time guest? If not, then what is keeping you from making the changes to help people connect to God and others?