How To Make Others Friendlier

Neal Pollard

I am exasperated at how unfriendly the people at church are. They never speak to me.  When they do speak, I feel as though I am simply being tolerated. I do not feel a part of their “crowd.” It is so unfair! Yet, I have the answers for me and any other poor soul who has encountered such unfriendliness when at the assemblies.

I AM GOING TO MAKE EVERYONE CONVERSE WITH ME.  I’ll strike up conversations with everyone at church, including those I hardly even know. To make it better, I am going to find out what interests them so I’ll have plenty to say and hear with the. I’m not going to give them the chance to not speak to me. I will eagerly listen to what they say, and they will think they’ve never met someone so sincerely interested!

I AM GOING TO WEAR A BIG SMILE. I am going to develop a personality so magnetic that no one can resist getting to know me better. My grin will be like an open invitation to visitors and members alike. I bet they’ll wonder what’s gotten into me, that I’m so happy. They’ll be eager to be a part of what makes me so cheerful!

I AM GOING TO DO UNSOLICITED ACTS OF KINDNESS. I’ll send them notes of cheer, cards of sympathy, and letters of encouragement. I’ll visit their sick family members and neighbors. They won’t know what hit them. I’ll pray for those folks down at church…by name…every night!

I AM GOING TO STAY AROUND LONGER AFTER THE LAST “AMEN.” I’ll hang around the auditorium, get to the foyer early enough to catch the early departures, talk to the elderly, the small children, and the visitors. I bet they’ll mistake me for a deacon or an usher.

I AM GOING TO STUDY EVERY PASSAGE ON KINDNESS AND FRIENDLINESS I CAN FIND. I’ll memorize, ” Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). I will model Colossians 3:12: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I’ll carry a plaque with me that reads, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). I am going to memorize the beatitudes (Mat. 5:3-12), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:5-7).  I can’t kill them with kindness unless I’ve got my guns loaded.

Now I’m ready! Those unfriendly folks at church don’t stand a chance. I’ll melt every cold stare. I’ll dodge every harsh word. I’ll reflect every criticism with the shield of warmth. I’ll be so friendly…hmmmmm…maybe that was a part of the problem anyway. If were friendlier….

“VISITOR” OR “GUEST”?


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Neal Pollard

I have never attended a congregation who gets more “drop ins” than here. Last night’s midweek service, at which we had 223, included three non-Christians who were here either by invitation or on their own initiative. Sundays always means even more individuals and families who have come in from the community. What a golden opportunity this gives us as a church!

Last month, while attending “Affirming the Faith” in Oklahoma City, I heard Mark Taylor, preacher for the Memorial Road congregation, talking about what they have done to be more effective with “outsiders” who attend their services. This would include all who are not members of that congregation–Christian from in or out of the area and especially non-Christians “seeking” a church home. His thesis question was, “How do we view these individuals? Are they ‘visitors’ or ‘guests’?” He then demonstrated the difference.

He says a guest is someone for whom we have prepared. We clean our house, cook a delicious meal, and light a candle for guests. We plan for them. We want them there and we invite them back again. A visitor may drop by unannounced or unexpectedly. We may feel inconvenienced by a visitor. Your treatment of them may reflect that annoyance or apathy.

We never want to have another “visitor” again! That means we must treat all those who come in among us as guests! Such is proven by the steps we take toward them. It may not be easy to reach a “guest” sitting across the auditorium, but what about in our “section”? Is there an unfamiliar face? Greet them! Help them find a classroom. Take them on a tour. Invite them to lunch. Get the attendance card they filled out and drive to their home and tell them you were glad they were there. Every “guest” has a never-dying soul. Each of us is being handed an opportunity with eternal implications!

Will you pledge, with me, to seek out and honor every “guest”? Sunday is our next opportunity. Let us make the most of it (Col. 4:5)!