Archive for evangelism

Finish Well: What’s Next for A Guest

We assume that when a person visits our group and becomes a member, they are now a part of the group. It is true, they are on our ministry list but that does not make them a part of the group. Assimilation is essential. Becoming a part of a group does not end with enrollment. Here are few ideas to better assimilate members after enrollment.

Have parties: Class socials help new folks to connect. People get to know one another. They become friends when socials are a part of group-life.

Do missions together: Serving alongside others helps new folks feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Rearrange the room: People tend to sit in the same place week after week. Rearranging the room forces people to sit with those they do not know as well.

Include guests in social media conversations: Much of our communication and conversations are done on social media or text. Include guests in those conversations.

Special occasions: Celebrate with a card to be a part of those special events in life.

Worship together: Sit with guests in worship.

Introductions are important: As a leader we need to make sure everyone knows everyone. For a couple of months after the person becomes a part of the group keep introducing them to others.

Name tags: Everyone should wear them. New people are learning names. Help them.

Mike Taylor is a State Missionary for Adult Groups and Faith Development at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

5 Ways to Make A Guest Feel at Home

One of my daughter’s friends comes to our house so much that we often tell her, “you aren’t a guest anymore…you’re part of the family!” Sunday School is about helping guests become family as quickly as possible. Consider these suggestions:

1. Expect Guests to Be Present

When guests arrive, they should not observe a mad scramble for an extra chair, a copy of the literature, or a pen and registration card. Lack of expectation communicates to the guest that they are an inconvenience or disruption. Preparation says, “we were hoping you would come.”

2. Use Name Tags for Everybody

Make guest and group member name tags look alike. If you re-use member name tags, have each person handwrite their own name card into a clip-on cover so that you can easily create a similar one for guests.

3. Leave Good Seats Available

Guests should be able to find a place in the midst of the group…not set apart and not on the front row!

4. Have Group Members Introduce Guests

For many people, introducing themselves to a group is terrifying. Train group members to learn the names and something about the guest who sits beside them and make the introductions.

5. Don’t Abandon Guests After Group Time

Make sure guests know how to find their children or their way to the worship center. Invite them to sit with you for worship. Offering to share a meal with them is always a great way to help people feel at home.

David Bond is a Sunday School/Small Group consultant at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Facebook – @DavidBond
Twitter – @DavidTBond
Instagram – @DavidTBond

Greeting and Meeting Guests

 

“Every week may be somebody’s first week. If it’s not a good week, they may not ever come back for a second week…” wrote David Francis in Great Expectations: Planting Seeds for Sunday School Growth. I can testify from my personal experience in looking for a church when we moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee that David is correct. We visited five churches and three of them we never went back for a second visit.

Every group needs to be prepared to make a great first impression. If you expect new people every week, what are some things you will do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER they visit?

Before they visit, consider who’s saying “Hello” when they come? When my wife and I were looking for a church, we attended two classes at a well-known church. In both instances, only the teacher said hello.  Let me encourage you to have someone besides the teacher say hello.  One old idea is to have hidden greeters that will have this assignment.  A hidden greeter introduces themself and then introduces the guest to other members, and invites the guest to sit with them during the service.

During the visit, smile and show your teeth! Welcome everyone! Register the guest! Ask guests and members to wear a nametag! Inform the guest of Group Activities! Expect them to say YES and ask them if they want to enroll (belong to your group).

The real test of a friendly class comes after the benediction. Train your people to speak to each other and express care about each other. The guests are watching.  Offer to take guests to the Worship Service or to help them find where the preschool and children’s buildings are. Shake hands while exiting.

After the visit, follow UP! Send a text, an email, write a letter, make a phone call, meet them for coffee or dinner, and even go visit!

BTW, my wife and I ended up joining the one church that showed they really wanted us.

Mark Miller is the Group Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Arranging Your Room to be Guest Friendly

Many of us know the terror of walking into a Small Group setting, where everybody seems to know everybody, but nobody knows us. We walk in, we search for a place to sit, usually in the place that nobody else wants to sit, and we wonder what to do next.

Many Small Groups think they’re friendly—when they’re only friendly to their members. They never look at their class, or their classroom through visitors’ eyes.  They don’t expect new people, enjoy new people, plan for new people, organize for new people, or organize their room for new people.

The room should be set up for guests: with drinks and snacks, open chairs, and name tags (for everybody in the class!).  There should be a fellowship area where people can stand, and talk, and greet new people.  There should be extra Bibles, in the translation the teacher uses, and extra quarterlies so the guests can follow along.

A clean room is important. Cookie crumbs, cake crumbs, and smells from last week’s pizza party are a turn-off to guests.  A room that looks good is important too. Peeling paint, tattered and stained carpet, old and ill-matching tables and chairs communicate a powerful message.  Old and worn-out Bibles and quarterlies communicate a message as well.

Class members make the greatest impression on guests. But classrooms make an impression too.  We should determine what we want to communicate.  And, as best we can, we should arrange our classrooms to communicate that message.

Fred Creason is the Leadership Strategist at the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention.

First Contact: 7 Seconds That Really Count

We have the privilege of being the Church. Not a building, but a people who at our core, love others, or at least that is our charge. Many organizations across the world know the value of “first impressions.” The problem is we never get a “do over” to have a first impression and depending on who you study, it last about 7 seconds.

Here are a few reminders, simple as they may be, that might help you.

  1. Smile. It seems obvious but you would be surprised how many churches have done a great job of getting Greeters at the door, but failed to instruct them to smile –facial expression is important when it comes to making a good impression.
  2. Shake their hands. The handshake is the universally accepted signal of politeness and kindness. Make sure the handshake is not too firm or not too soft. Neither make a good impression.
  3. Kind Greeting. A simple “good morning” will do the job. If you want to come up with something like, “we are glad you are here today” that will work as well. Don’t make things complicated, just greet them in a kind manner that informs them you are glad they have chosen to attend your church today.
  4. Speak clearly. It would be counterproductive to greet them and mumble through the whole encounter. Speak clearly. Don’t speak too loud or too soft. Depending on where you are from in the country this might be troubling. (I am from Georgia, I get it) Make sure you can be understood by those choosing to be your guest.
  5. Maintain eye contact. When people come to your church make sure you make eye contact. Look at them to make sure they know they have been noticed. This is based on one simple principle. People matter; they matter to God and they should matter to us.

Jonathan Jordan is the State Missionary at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.