Plumb Lines in a Pandemic, part 5
As church leaders begin to re-engage with in-person weekend services, I thought it might be fitting to revisit our Plumb Lines series, specifically applying those steady principles to our current uncertainty.
A plumb line is a construction tool used to determine whether or not something is perfectly upright. In our context, a plumb line is a short, sticky phrase intended to keep us aligned with our guest services values.
The first visit should set up the second visit.
Our fifth and final plumb line reminds us that all of our guest services processes should point people to the gospel. We want to treat people well on their first visit, of course. But we don’t do that to make much of ourselves or our church. We do it to engage them, break down walls, and make them say, “That’s a place I’d like to return to.” Is that a church-growth strategy? Well, maybe. But more importantly, it’s a lay-the-groundwork-for-a-repeated-hearing-of-the-gospel strategy.
(Yeah, “church growth strategy” rolls off of the tongue a little better.)
How does this apply as we re-gather?
One of my favorite quotes about church guests (yep, that’s a thing!) is from Mark Dever: “What you win them with is what you’ll win them to.” Meaning, however we welcome our guests will need to match up with how we want to keep our guests, seeing them become Christ-followers and covenant members.
That’s why a clear process is necessary from the beginning. During these days, if your small groups look different, say so. If your ministry team opportunities are limited, let them know when it’ll be open season again. If chances to connect in any way – via membership classes, family ministry programming, local outreach, you name it – if those things don’t look like they normally do, let your guests know that up front.
And most importantly, give them a way to stay connected to you and to reach out if they have questions. In a world where nothing is normal, let’s add a little bit of normalcy where we can. Show them how to navigate the website. Point them to the desk in the lobby where they can find help. Better yet…give them your personal email or phone number and place yourself and their disposal.
We will get on the other end of this, friends. My prayer is that this updated plumb lines series has helped you navigate the new challenges that ministry is bringing. And speaking of reaching out…let me know how I can best serve you.