People won’t care…

People won’t care…
A couple of years ago in my hometown, a local celebrity died and the local newspaper printed stories of remembrance about the man. Many of the stories were simply about how he had been there in some of the most important times of their lives.
Young people recalled how he helped them celebrate their 16th birthdays.
Older people recalled how he had calmed their nerves before taking the test.
People of every generation recalled how special he made them feel and what a delight it was to simply be in his presence.
What did he do for a living? He was the photographer at the Secretary of State Facility in Peoria, Illinois. In other words, he was the person at the DMV who took your picture for your driver’s license. His position was not one of high stature, and it certainly was not a high paying job. So, what led to his fame? What made him a household name? It was how he treated people.
When you walked into the door, he greeted you with a broad smile and a twinkle in his eye. You felt like he was genuinely glad to see you and glad you were there. When he engaged you in conversation, he focused completely on you and the conversation. He put you at ease. He listened. In addition, when he said goodbye, he called you by name.
Most importantly, when he took your picture, he walked you through the steps of how to get the best picture. He made you laugh and look natural. If he thought the first take was not your best, he would take another picture and let you see it before he printed your license. He made you feel special because you felt like he understood it was not a petty, shallow thing to want a good picture on your driver’s license. He understood many people would see your driver’s license picture. He knew you would have your driver’s license a while before renewal, and he wanted you to have a good picture on it.
Whenever we talk about hospitality in the church, I often think of him. Just recently, I received some literature about a week-long seminar for how to train church greeters and hospitality teams. The goal was to create good first impressions and to create an environment in your church where people feel welcomed. Although I agreed with the goal, I did not think it would necessitate a week-long seminar in order to accomplish it.
To me, hospitality comes down to a basic concept – how do you make others feel in your presence? Do they genuinely feel that you are glad to see them, and you are glad they are there? Do they feel like you notice them? Do they feel like you have time for them? Do they get a sense that you understand or are willing to listen and learn about the things that are important to them? Do they feel like they would have a place among you…a place of belonging, acceptance, joy and love?
Honestly, this is what most people are looking for when they walk through the doors of your church. Remember the saying, “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I think we could adapt this in the church to “People won’t care”….about your worship services, your programs, your ministries, or your church UNTIL “they know how much you care”…that they are there; they are in need; they are looking for a place to belong; or that you see them as a child of God worthy of love and acceptance. If you can show them, how much you care, they will remember, and it will be a lasting impression.
Blessings, Shana