Quick. Think back to this weekend’s services. Before. During. After. As you were walking through the hallways. As you were mingling in the lobby. As you were putting out fires and tweaking last minute plans and filling a spot for a no-show volunteer.
If I were to hand you a marker and a whiteboard and ask Who did you speak to?, how many names could you list? How many hands did you shake, necks did you hug, backs did you pat, high fives did you give? In the middle of all of your tasks, did you take time for touch? As you managed to check off your punch list, did you manage to check in on people?
Now, another question. Perhaps a more convicting question. Instead of who did you speak to, how about who did you speak into? Same basic premise. Crazy different outcome. Speaking into often means that you convey scriptural truth in the middle of heart-wrenching trouble. Speaking into calls courage out of timid hearts. Speaking into prays for needs that people may not fully be able to articulate. Speaking into reminds people that what God revealed as truth in the light is still truth in the darkness. Speaking into goes beyond perfunctory greetings, beyond surface conversations, beyond hey-how-are-ya-how-have-things-been. Speaking into helps people see themselves as God sees them: deeply loved, fully known, cherished, honored.
God help us if we lead out in guest services but don’t lead out in serving guests. Speaking to guests. Speaking into guests. First-time guests, multiple-times guests, covenant members, fellow staff team. God help us if we do our job with precision but never take time with our people.
Who did you speak to is challenging. Who did you speak into is – for me, at least – a downright painful reflection.
It’s not too late. Last Sunday may be over, but another one is coming. This weekend, don’t just speak to people. Speak into them.
photo credit: Sara Davis