creating atmospheres of warmth

>> June 1, 2009

We've served in some genuinely warm congregations. And also some icy cold ones. But we've learned that the pastor's example can make a big impact. Here's a few things we've discovered that PHs and PWs can do to make a difference:

  • do your best to learn member's names, and greet them with a warm handshake or a hug
  • notice visitors, greet them, ask them how they enjoyed the service, and invite them back or to a small group/church outing/sports meet/children's activity that might interest them
  • have one weekend a month where you make extra food for lunch and then wait to issue an invitation until after church, asking God to help you notice someone that you should invite (we have made the most extraordinary connections this way, and it has often been the start of new friendships)
  • invite a family from your congregation over for a spaghetti supper, nothing fancy, just an hour of getting-to-know-you-better - I know one pastoral family who has this tradition every Friday night...
  • actually answer your phone when church members call (unless it's during your sacred family time, and then be sure to call back), I had one woman tell me after a meaningful phone prayer time: "I've never EVER been able to actually make contact with a PW before, and I'm so grateful you didn't screen my call!"
  • urge members to gather together for social events and get to know each other better
  • spend a little time in the church lobby each week (if your current children's ages permit), and just be available to chat with people, it doesn't have to be long - but your visual availability speaks volumes
  • don't exceed your limitations or over-commit yourself
One guest speaker at our church recently said, "Remember, food + people = evangelism." I've been thinking about it ever since. And it's true, Jesus did much of his ministry around a table. Food may not be the only avenue to create warmth, but it sure can go a long way!

How do YOU find ways to foster warmth and genuine relationships among your church family? What activities suit YOUR personality and gifts?


Indy June 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM  

Currently my husband and I are at a small church in Doral so it's not too difficult to greet (at least smile at and make contact) all of the church visitors and members. Also, spend some time in women's small group, sharing and listening. I think it's so important to be authentic and not put on a show as if we've got it all together but you must be wise in who and what you share.

Love you suggestion for lunch after church. Will definitely try that soon.

Lily June 1, 2009 at 9:53 PM  

I agree with Indy. Being real-- being authentic goes a long way when it comes to creating a warm environment.

We've tried some of these and they do work. They really help to create community within the church.

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