Over the weekend I read Chip Bell’s latest little book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service (special thanks to my friend Bob Adams for the suggestion). In it, Bell makes the practical, yet often-overlooked suggestion that we find the target of our guests’ affinity.
Too often in church circles, we focus on what we can offer: our programs and our ministries. Our outreaches and our pet projects. Our demographics and our growth patterns. And those things are important, so long as those things find their end in the gospel.
But for the guests that we reach, we have to start with what they bring. All bring baggage, yes (we all have it). But they also bring their passions: their relationships and hobbies. Their career choices and free time options. Their musical tastes and kids’ extra-curricular activities.
Bell’s point is that when we find the target of their affinity, we find their heart. And in our world, that often means that we find their deepest loves, their idols, their visible representation of an invisible hope.
Skipping the affinity means we skip the opportunity to connect. Don’t skip it. Take the time to discover it. Ask questions. Be observant. Go deeper.
Learn what your guests love, and you’ll learn how to best love your guests.