“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
We want to be a church that is intentional about relationship building. It is one of the three major focuses of our purpose statement, which states that we exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ who have a growing heart for God, heart for each other and heart for our world. But how are we going to grow in our “heart for each other,” if we aren’t intentional about building relationships?
The truth is, we are like Legos when it comes to relationships. We have a limited number of spots on our “relational blocks” to connect to others and when our block is full, we stop trying to connect. This makes our church look cliquish when guests visit our church. Sure, it is human nature to want to be with our usual connections, but the result is true nonetheless, guests don’t feel welcome.
How can we become more intentional about relationship building, while at the same time being aware of the “Lego Theory” of human nature? I recently read a blog post about how Pastor Karl Vaters teaches his church to leverage their relational value. He uses the acronym “GIFT” to encourage his members to be intentional about relationship building. I think these four steps would be helpful to our church too.
G — Greet someone you’ve never met.
I — Introduce somebody to someone they’ve never met.
F — Follow-up on someone you’ve met recently.
T — Thank someone for a job well done.
What do you think would happen if everyone in our church started giving out a GIFT every week at church? I think our guests would feel more than welcome. They would soon feel like family. And the beautiful thing about following GIFT is that it takes into account the “Lego Theory” of human nature. Your relational block may be fully connected, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help new people connect to each other. “Greet” them and then “introduce” them to someone else who is relatively new too. Help them get connected.
Let’s start giving out GIFTs this Sunday. I believe it will cause relationship building to be a mark of our church.