Christmas time. It’s hearing a song and almost instantly remembering happy thoughts. Or getting a gift and realizing the thoughtfulness of someone. Baking smells from the kitchen evoke pure comfort. Christmas is (for the most part) a happy comfortable time.
Yet, when you visit with people over the holidays, you can have two reactions. I fit in. I don’t fit in.
It’s the closest equation to the feelings of someone who comes to your church. At Christmas and anytime.
Either there is an immediate sense of community; or no matter where one turns, there’s something that is stressful and doesn’t feel right.
Trying to write a blog about how to fix Christmas family time is somewhat impossible. Same for church community. But here’s 3 things to get you started in 2013.
- Servant Mentality. Do unto others as you’d have it done to you. It’s more than a good verse. Every person on staff needs to model servant-hood in everything they do. Eventually the congregation will demonstrate it. Much like being at someone’s home were they wait on you hand and foot; eventually (thoughtful) people will ask if there’s anything they can do.
- Coffee Smell. Studies show that it’s the most welcoming smell. Especially in the winter; but it can be used all the time. Set up a coffee area in the foyer and loosen the stiff rules of “no beverages”. Or buy a coffee-scent machine. People will feel more at home and relaxed.
- Ambassadors. Create a team tasked to welcome people (visitors and members); have it rotate regularly so it feels fresh. I wouldn’t label them; just encourage them to make their friendliness so natural that people don’t realize they’ve been asked to do it.
Community. It’s a great buzz word for the church. But it’s as hard to achieve as a restful Christmas.