Past couple of Wednesday we have been looking at the constant battle between service programming and relational ministry. To recap, there is a fine line that all ministries need to balance when it comes to having a great, well ran service and having real, authentic, true relationships with the people who come to the service. Not everyone has a team of people to help them plan and service and focus on relationships. I am thankful to be on a team that we all can put together a great service and still focus on relationships, but I have not always had that. I know both sides.
Last week, I said relationships are the number one thing when it comes to a service. Relationships is what keeps people there, it is where the life changes come from. A church service is just a means to get people within the relationships with leaders or pastors, and ultimately Jesus. While the service can be ran with music, games, a sermon and a funny video, everything within the service should be pointing the students to someone they can talk to and get connected. The lights and music might intrigue them to come in, but after 3 weeks without making a connection with someone that person most likely wont come back.
So does that mean the service should suffer? No way! I love my job. I love creating services in which are fun and engaging and well ran. I wouldnt have it any other way. Give me lights, give me videos, give me great sermon illustrations and fun ways to do announcements all day, but as long as I realize this is not the end all. All these things are to start a conversation or point to someone to have a realtionship with. After all, at Saddleback, our weekend services are to EXPOSE students to the Gospel, to get them introduced to who Jesus is, and the relationships will help guide them to EXPERIENCE Him.
So how do you add relational aspects into the service so people can be guided to start a relationship with someone on your team? Here are a few suggestions:
- Add a 2 minute greeting within the service. Use it as a transition somewhere in the service to have students get up and meet someone new. This gives leaders a chance to talk and make a connection as well. You can read more about this in a previous post HERE.
- Info cards. We have a tear off section on the bottom of their message notes that if a student turns it in to a leader after service for first time visitors, we will then give them a FREE GIFT, from HSM to them. 1) We get their info and we can connect them and 2) A connection is made and a relationship is started.
- We try to focus on those students who are sitting alone. We have our leaders and our student leaders in each section go and sit with those who are by themselves. For the most part, if they are by themselves, they are new and do not know anyone. This wil get them a connection and a face to look for the following weekend.
These are just a few suggestions. What do you do in your group during service to get people connected into a relationship? What would you suggest?