Yesterday, I wrote about how powerful it is when a church community “feels the love” when they gather for mass or a ministry program. I shared the “why” to building a community that is strong and vibrant.
Today, we’re going to talk about the “how.” How can you and I build a strong community in our ministry?
The most important step is that we need to realize that building a vibrant community where people are known and cared for takes work. We must create an intentional plan. Too often, we do not create community on purpose. It happens accidently. That’s okay, but creating an intentional plan can make the experience of community even more powerful.
What might that plan include?
- Training for Hospitality Ministers: Whether it is for mass or a youth night, we must train people what it means to be hospitable. We must train people on how to build a relationship with others. Some people do it naturally well. Most of us need to be trained to do it well. And notice the “ministers” is plural. It should not just be the main leader being the hospitality minister. We need a team!
- Name Tags: I’m a believer in name tags. How do you distribute name tags at your event? There’s a huge difference between having people sign in at a table and make their own name tag VERSUS being greeted by a hospitality minister by name and having their name tag written for them and handed to them. The latter is much more effective as it builds an initial point of contact with attendees.
- Food: Nothing brings people together more than food. But it has to be good food!
- Follow up process: When a new person comes to mass or your ministry program, how do you follow up with them? I can hear the laughing now. “Follow up? What follow up?” Exactly. That’s the point. It’s amazing how a follow up call, email, text, or Facebook message can mean a lot. It shows that we as leaders are paying attention and that we care for them. Think about creating an intentional follow up process.
- Create downtime in your program: Downtime, breaks, before and after the program or mass; these are the best times for people to just hang out with others and talk about whatever. This is where true and authentic community is built. Unforced hang out time can be a powerful opportunity.
- Time: Of course, we have to remember that building a vibrant faith community takes time. Give it time. Don’t force it, but provide the opportunity for connecting.
These are some really good ways to creating an intentional plan to building a vibrant community. But these are not the only ideas. So my question for you is…
What other creative and dynamic ideas you would add to this intentional plan?