I have visited six church services in the last two months. Most of them have been church plants.
I typically arrive a little early so that I can observe how things are going before the service begins.
A few times I’ve been warmly welcomed and engaged in conversation with people around me.
However, I have also experienced the awkwardness of just standing there and no one talks to me.
Being an extravert and a former church planting pastor, I’m quite comfortable initiating conversations with people I’ve just met. It’s quite natural for me to ask questions and try to get to know something significant about people I meet.
I’m always surprised when I’m at a church service and the “regular attenders” aren’t interested in connecting with a newcomer (namely, me).
I’d suggest that churches could improve their engagement with newcomers by offering Conversation Training. Teach people how to…
- Start conversations
- Ask questions
- Be good listeners
- Make connections
These skills would not only be useful when a visitor comes to a worship service on Sunday morning, but they would also be great skills to develop for life — and for disciplemaking!
Be conversant. Jesus was. He did this with the woman at the well and many others.
Practice starting conversations this week. Ask questions. Be a good listener. Make connections.