People make Sunday School special. Without people, well, you don’t have Sunday School. One of my favorite people is Yogi Berra. He is often quoted for the unique truths that he has stated over his life. Things like, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Or, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” If you don’t make it your intention to connect with people, it won’t happen.
Dale Carnegie wrote a great book back in the 20’s that has great truths about connecting with people. His book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People” has been read and applied by people for the past 80 years. The book covers four main areas;
1. Techniques in dealing with people;
2. How to make people like you;
3. How to win people to your way of thinking;
4. How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.”
This book has influenced me.
Most of us seem to have a strategy for “Connecting with People” that just sort of happens. That strategy doesn’t work when we are seeking to accomplish the Great Commission! We need a plan; we need to be intentional about relationships. Consider these pointers about connecting with people.
Ways to “connect with people!”
- Watch the door: when you are in your Sunday School class and in the worship center, watch the door for people you do not know. Go and let them know you are glad to see them and that you are happy they chose to be with you today.
- Watch for loners: you know, those people who just seem to avoid people. Guests usually do this. Make sure they are greeted! More importantly, really be interested in who they are, where they are from, their family, things they enjoy, if they are looking for a church family.
- Watch eye contact: not theirs, yours! Remind yourself not to give the new person the “up and down.” You know, where you check out what they are wearing, their hair style, brands of clothing, etc. etc. Look them in the eye and put on your best smile that says, “I’m glad to meet you and I would love to get to know you more.”
- Watch your schedule: be sure to intentionally leave time after church to invite a visitor to lunch. I have found this to be the ultimate test. People know you really care when you desire to spend time with them. Take another church member or family with you so that they can make a deeper connection.
Bottom line; make it an intentional priority to connect with people by investing yourself in their life.
Dr. Steve McNeil is the Chuch Mobilization and Equipping Team Leader for the State Conventions of Baptists in Indiana.