Preparing for Guests
March 26, 2012
I have a very foundational belief that no guest enters into the midst of a church, whether a conventional church structure or an unconventional gathering place, by happenstance. Rather, those who visit, are there by divine appointment. No one ever comes into your church, come by whim or without reason. Rather, those who come are wrestling with life, looking for answers and they have been prodded by the Holy Spirit to come to your gathering.
So, why mention this? Why does it matter? Because what we believe about this issue will impact how we treat those who come and how passionately we pursue them. I was recently reminded, while attending a church, that we often do a very poor job preparing for and following up with those God sends us. Every church wants guests, but few really know what to do with them when they come in the door.
Answering these questions will help you determine how well you prepare. When someone new shows up; how do you gather his or her information? Are you consistent and passionate about gathering that info? Do you view gathering their info as an act of evangelism or just a recurring act that seems meaningless? How do you follow up once you gather that info? What strategies do you have in place for those who want to say "Yes!" to Jesus?
In my travel I worship in numerous churches of every kind and size. I am amazed how often most don't take the time and effort to find a way to harvest my information. What if I was looking for a church? What if I needed some deeper answers? What if I just needed a little more prodding in order to make my way to Jesus? If you didn't take the time to strategically plan on how to reach me, then you just lost your opportunity. In fact, that may have been my last chance to give the church an opportunity.
Do you believe that guests are coming to you by divine appointment or is it just luck? If God has sent them to you, what is your responsibility? I believe God stops sending guests to those who are not prepared.