I'm in Wisconsin spending a couple days with some wonderful pastors and volunteers in the Wisconsin / Northern Michigan network of Assemblies of God churches. In a discussion of "best practices" we've started each of three sessions with the following simple reminder:
Pray. The first "best practice" is to simply pray.
It’s easy to think we’ve got this whole guest services thing wired up. We’ve read the books, studied great businesses, learned from other churches, stock-piled our own rich experiences. We’ve got this.
I get that God’s wired a bunch of us for this. I understand that he works through us and through our gifted team members. But we can soar along on our own, missing the fact that there’s either something supernatural going on in these relational encounters—or there’s not.
This is more than technique. More than a list of “best practices.” We’ve been invited to God’s agenda to redeem and recreate his creation. We’re in on his movement to restore human life. This is his kingdom. We’re mere citizens and stewards of his work.
I need my eyes constantly open to see what God is up to in my life and the lives of those around me. I need my ears alert to the faint whispers of his Spirit that help me be in the right place at the right time. I need my heart tuned to his agenda so the frustrations, details, and tasks don’t become routine. I need my soul awakened to the present moment with the unique individuals in the moment, lest I merely perform a job - paid or unpaid.
I need to pray.
Are you praying?
(excerpt from How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Meaningful Ways to Make a First Impression by Mark Waltz; Group Publishing, Loveland CO)