My small town church recently launched its second location. To make sure the campus has the same look and feel as our central campus, as well as a healthy leadership presence, we’ve been rotating the church staff from campus to campus.
This has accomplished our goal. However, there was one major flaw in this strategy; it was very difficult to make relationships.
For example, you might meet a new couple on one Sunday, but the next Sunday you were at a different location. It would be at least two weeks before you see them again, and if they happen to miss a Sunday, it could be a month.
Relationships depend on consistency, which was one thing we lacked. No consistency, no connection, that’s a major problem.
My church has always thrived on connections, so as soon as we saw that slipping we knew we had to make a change.
So, we’re implementing some changes that will get us in front of the same people week to week, but getting in front of people isn’t enough.
- Is this person real?
One of the greatest hurdles we have to jump over with unchurched or dechurched people is the perception that Christians tend to be fake. They act one way inside the church but quite another outside. Many of us have been so concerned with impressing each other with how righteous we are that we’ve totally alienated those outside the church. Before someone wants to connect with you, they need to know that you’re real. They want to know that you share their struggles as well as their desires.
- Do they care about me?
Once they know you’re real, they want to know you care. Are you hugging them because you’re a greeter, or are you genuinely glad to see them? Do you make it a priority to remember names? This goes a long way in showing you care, and you get double points for remembering their kids names. Are you engaging in conversation to find out more about them, or are you just looking for the next hand to shake? Showing you care takes time. It doesn’t happen over night. Care is an investment, and it’s an investment worth making.
- Can I trust them?
Once they know you’re real and you truly care, people may still be hesitant to connect until you answer the last question. Can they trust you? I believe we have to be the most skeptical country in the world. The media provides a constant stream of how the world has lied to us and done us wrong. To say we don’t trust easily is an understatement. It’s going to take time, but it can be done. The best way to gain trust is to do what you say you’re going to do and be who you are.
After you’ve answered these three questions, a connection is made that is not easily broken. These are the people you will see step up to become your best volunteers, group leaders, and trusted friends.
It takes some work up front, but the benefits to answering these questions can last a lifetime.
Do you agree with these three questions? What are some other questions people are asking? How can we better connect with them? I’d love to hear your responses. Make sure to leave a comment below.