Each Sunday, there are several people who come through our doors who have never been to High Point Church. Some of these guests have never been to church, while others just moved to the area and are in the search process for a new church home. This can be intimidating and overwhelming for them!
How can we best love them and get new guests connected? Show them hospitality. And to show hospitality, it is very beneficial to have questions and conversation starters on hand. I typically get into the routine of asking “yes/no” questions, thus leading to surface level conversation that lasts less than 30 seconds. But below are some helpful conversation starters to keep in mind that will lead to SUBSTANTIVE conversations.
Nic’s friend provided an illustration (right), and it is essentially a mental drawing to go through as you converse through various topics. Below is the description of how to walk through the picture. It’s really simple but helps people continue a conversation with open-ended questions that are more substantive.
I encourage each of you to draw the illustration on a sheet of paper as we go through the steps.
Draw these things in the following sequence:
- Draw a welcome mat. Think of the questions that make you think of welcoming someone. (For example, introductory statements like “Welcome…I’m glad to see you.” etc.)
- Draw an outline of a house. (Ask a question like….”Where do you live?”)
- Draw windows with the people in there. (Ask questions about their family, pets, etc.)
- Draw a No. 2 pencil for the chimney. (Ask students what they are studying or doing in school. If you’re not dealing with students, perhaps talk about hobbies and work.)
- Draw a goal post coming out of the chimney. (Ask about goals, aspirations, life vision/mission, etc.)
- Lastly, draw a cloud in the goal post. (The cloud represents whatever comes up after asking the previous question. Often times the best thing to do at this point is to think about what you learned about that person and to try to introduce them to someone who has something in common.)
Your picture should look similar to the image above. As we get used to having longer conversations with our guests, it will become easy and more natural. We will be able to do it without thinking about the house illustration, or maybe we will add on to our “house” as other engaging questions stem from our original ones.
I hope this illustration sticks with each of you, and I encourage you to share it. It is our prayer that each guest leaves feeling the love and intentionality of Christ. A guest’s initial interactions with a church community are pivotal in their decision-making process to come back.
If presenting this visual to your small group or other individuals, it’s best presented by handing out blank sheets of paper and drawing it on a white board (explaining each step). Once they do it, they will likely not forget it.
Thank you for taking time to read through the process. I pray this will be a valuable tool for each of you as you approach new guests.