- Jim Townsley
- May 5, 2013
The first Sunday of a new church is an exciting and busy event. There are many duties the pastor has that are important. The building must be clean, visitor packets must be ready, decision cards should be located at the front of the auditorium, the sound system must be in good working order, and the piano must be in place before the first service even begins. In addition, there are many other details that must not be overlooked.
The setup is important, the nursery is important, the ushers are important, and all the details are necessary. However, the most important part of that first service is the people who attend. Visitors will receive an initial impression that will last a long time. If their first impression is not good it may be difficult to change their view toward you and the church.
It is crucial that the details of the setup be ready well before visitors arrive. You, the pastor, must meet them at the door with a smile and a big welcome. People can sense you care for them by your facial expression and your demeanor as well as the words you speak to them. If you are bogged down with the details of the setup people will sense you care more for details than for them.
Not only should you greet each visitor, but as you talk to them you should show an interest in their lives. It will be helpful if you can determine their spiritual condition. It is important that you not be pushy, but as long as they want to talk you should spend time with them. Also, you must be careful not to seem rushed as you meet every visitor who attends.
An effective preacher learns how to meet people and befriend them. Prior to the service and following the service the major part of the pastor and his wife is to talk to people. Don't allow people to bog you down with unnecessary talk. Keep moving and meet as many people as possible. By the end of the day you should have met every visitor and you should know something about them. If necessary you may jot down names or information discreetly to help you remember who you spoke to and what they said to you.
If the details of the setup for the church service are cumbersome to you designate someone else to supervise the setup so that you and your wife are free to meet people and fellowship with them. The sound system is important, but visitors are more important. You can fix the sound system next week, but the visitors may not return.
Meet them at the door as they arrive and meet them at the door as they leave. The ministry is people and it is difficult to get them to come. Don't lose them because you failed to show enough interest in them. Your best prospects for salvation are those who enter the doors of your church seeking something real. If you have something real, prove to them you are real by giving them the attention they need. Meet them at the door!