Published: 6 years ago

Friendly, But Not Intentional

Have you ever considered that your church needs to get over being friendly?

Frequently when I show up at a church to help with guest services training, I’m approached by a sweet little blue haired lady who tells me, “Brother Danny,” (I know I’m in an awesome church when they call me “Brother Danny”) “I’m not sure what you’re going to teach us tonight. Our church is so friendly. We just love each other!”

And you know what? She’s almost always right. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken at a church that wasn’t friendly. No one has ever slammed the door in my face or told me to get out and stay out (at least, not before they’ve heard me speak). No, I observe the hugs, the handshakes, the good natured ribbing, the encouragement and the camaraderie that goes hand in glove with the body of Christ being the body of Christ.

But there’s a huge difference between friendly and intentional, and it’s revealed in the last sentence of that hypothetical-yet-representational statement: “We just love each other.”

You see, I’m friendly to the people I know. But it takes intentionality to be friendly to the people I don’t yet know.

Friendly is a conversation with a long-time friend. Intentional is reaching out to the new person that just walked through the door.

Friendly assumes that someone is going to take care of the stranger in the auditorium. Intentional will always act rather than assume.

Friendly will smile at a first time guest, intentional takes the initiative to cross the room and talk to them.

Friendly hopes that “everyone is a greeter,” intentional makes a plan to keep people from falling through the cracks.

Friendly will make someone believe you’re glad they showed up. Intentional makes them believe you want them to come back.

Friendly thinks about it. Intentional does it.

So how about it? Does your church need to get over being friendly?

  1. hacken2013 says:

    My church could have used this a decade ago when we joined. We didn’t see a lot of “intentional” actions when we joined. It would increase our membership, I bet.

  2. Rita Griffith says:

    I have been serving in guest services now for just about 5 years and I do try to meet new people with not only a smile but also give them information. There are times that I can sense that a hug would help and I ask if they would like one.
    Thank you so much for your information on being a better greeter I will be looking forward to more inform.
    Yes you are so right, we are all greeters and I catch myself greeting people everywhere I go.

  3. Jim Kelley says:

    If you want to experience a naturally friendly and gracious church, visit First Methodist Church in downtown Tulsa, OK.

  1. By What’s Your Brown M&M? | Connective Tissue on October 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    […] Perhaps it’s a staff member who keeps reminding you that a guest services team isn’t necessary, because the church is already friendly. […]

  2. […] Read the entire original post here. […]

  3. […] news of the week, and even praying for each other’s needs. But there’s the rub…most church people are friendly to each other…to those we already know. It takes a great deal of intentionality to move beyond friendly to […]

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    […] Friendly, But Not Intentional […]

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