We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have spiritual gifts. Each of these gifts can be used to show Christ’s love to others and open up an opportunity to share the gospel. My spiritual gift is food. No really… I love food. Sure, call it hospitality or whatever but every day about 30 minutes prior to lunch, I get an excited feeling in my stomach because I’m going to eat soon. I also have the gift of conversation. Ok, so not quite a gift EVERYONE in my life enjoys about me but I like to talk. A couple years back, I decided to use my gifts in a missional way in church and found out that missional living was actually fun and exciting – mainly because I got to eat and talk about it. My personal rule in life is that if it’s not vital and not fun, I’m not going to do it; and church stuff falls into that category. Amazingly, not everyone thinks the same things are fun, and enough people think that different things are enjoyable, the church runs pretty smoothly if everyone does what they are gifted to do. (I think run-on sentences are fun, obviously).
Here are my tips for fun missional living. Your gifts may be different. I want to hear what you do that makes missional living fun.
- Look for the person or people in your section that don’t normally sit there. We know all the regulars but when the new person shows up, they tend to seclude themselves in whatever section they’re in. Notice them and say hello.
Invite the new person to sit with you. Saying “hi” is great but now you’ve pointed out the awkward truth (that they’re new and alone) and haven’t offered social protection for them. Invite them to sit with you. You can make the introductions to fellow church members or use them as an excuse to finally learn the name of that person you’ve known for 5 years but can only call them “hey you” because you forgot their name.
Invite them to eat with you that afternoon. This has to be a purposeful decision each Sunday that you may have a new person over to your house or out to a restaurant. (It’s amazing how fast a house gets cleaned when a guest is walking up to your door). This personalized time is HUGE and really helps your new person connect to your community.
Follow up mid-week. If lunch on Sunday doesn’t work out, try to get with them for coffee or dinner during the week. At least let them know you’d like to. If it still doesn’t work for that week, you will probably have that next Sunday to have lunch again. Schedule that.
Ask lots of questions. Yes, you are an interesting person, but so are they, and you want to be able to connect them with other believers in the church. Shared interests are often the best connectors. Don’t hog the conversation (fingers pointed back at me) and let them open up.
What do you guys think? What are your strengths and how do you use them to help grow the church (family not necessarily crowd size)? Any of my introverted brothers and sisters have any tips for fellow introverts?