13 July 2014
Over the last couple of months, via our GoThereFor subscription, I’ve been working through the excellent and practical Six Steps to Loving your Church course with a couple of other blokes in our prayer and Bible small group.
Here’s our list of ideas to prepare well for church to encourage people when we arrive.
- Read the Bible passage in advance (listed on bulletin rear the week before).
- Arrive early. See what gaps in the rosters need filling or whom you could talk to!
- Remember the things you prayed about from the week before so you can follow up with the relevant persons if you can.
- Remember last week’s sermon point/application so you can discuss how it went.
- Prayer for the preacher (to be faithful, clear, and hopefully also interesting).
- Also pray for children’s ministry leaders throughout the day.
- Make sure you leave the last prior function (the night before, or during the day if you attend church in the evening) with enough time to arrive not rushed or too tired.
- Keep your own informal roll – jot down the names of people you meet – use it to pray through for them and to help remind you of their names.
- Pray for a ‘divine appointment’ – an opportunity to encourage just one person.
- And pray for yourself, your own worship of our great God and learning from his Word.
And here’s a few ideas for during church.
- Listen hard, nod your head (if agreeable!), and sing, pray, speak heartily as to the Lord!
- Try sitting in a different spot from time to time. This different perspective can help you get to know regulars from the congregation you wouldn’t normally talk to.
- If you meet someone who seems new, remember you simply might not have noticed them before. You could just say, “Hello, I don’t think we’ve met before. My name’s X…”
And lastly some suggestions for conversation after church, apart from sport and the weather. (Although they can be interesting too!) Adjust to the context, of course.
- “Did anything particular strike you during church today?”
- “I was struck by what the [preacher/service leader/prayer leader] said today…”
- “What sort of things occupy your time?” or “What’s occupying your attention at the moment?” I find that a bit broader than “What do you do?” or “What’s your job?” (because not everyone is occupied with paid employment!)
- “How did you come to Christ?” can often lead to an encouraging story!
- “Are there any challenges you’re facing at the moment?”
- “What has the Lord been showing you lately?”
- “What can we pray for you?” or “Why don’t we pray about those things?”
1 Peter 4:11 says,
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Warmly in Christ,