Small things we can all do to make a big difference in our churches.
1. Pray! After church, pray for one thing from the sermon, one person that you spoke to, and give praise for something you’re thankful for at church.
2. Read ahead. Keep track of the current sermon series and read the Scripture that the following week’s sermon will be based on. You’ll engage with God’s word so much better if you’ve already given it some thought.
3. Welcome and talk to people. It doesn’t matter if they’re new or have been around for ages, no-one should be on their own at church. Sit next to the new person, or someone you don’t normally spend time with. Ask questions and listen well! Nothing helps feelings of belonging like being genuinely interested in the lives of those we speak to.
4. Remember what people tell you, and follow up. When someone tells you something significant, make a note of it in your diary or phone. Reminding someone of your prayers and concern for them long after your conversation is a good way to really hear and care for people.
5. Notice who’s not at church. Call or text them to ask if they’re okay, to say they were missed.
6. Talk to the kids. We are a body of believers made up of people big and small, young and old. Ask the kids what they learnt in children’s church, what they enjoy, or what they are looking forward to. Being noticed by a ‘big person’ is a great way to show our little ones that they are valued.
7. Get together outside church. Invite someone over for lunch after church, or meet someone for coffee beforehand. Ask others to join you for a morning run, or to watch a movie. Share your life and your resources in a relaxed way.
8. Make a meal for someone. A busy university student. A family with a new baby. Someone who’s been sick.
9. Join a Bible study. Church is the highlight of our week when it comes to teaching and fellowship, but joining a small group is an excellent way of doing these things in a more relaxed way.
10. Don’t be on time: be early! It’s discouraging when church begins and hardly anyone is there. The musicians arrived early to rehearse, and the set-up team worked diligently to make sure there are no interruptions during the service. Being early is a simple way of encouraging and acknowledging the effort of those whose ministry began before some of us were even out of bed. It’s also great to be there ready to welcome newcomers, who often arrive early.
11. Sing loud! Can’t sing well and feel embarrassed? No problem. God sent Moses, a self-confessed poor communicator, to speak to Pharaoh. Remember, you’re really only singing to an audience of one.
12. Sit close to the front. A healthy community should be willing to sit near one another. Additionally, leaving spare seats at the back allows for new people or latecomers to find a seat with minimal disruption.
13. Think about what you liked about the sermon. Don’t just tell the preacher it was great. Pick out something specific from the sermon and comment directly on that.
14. Give feedback well. It’s best to speak directly to the pastor or service leader if you have a concern worth addressing. So speak up—to the right person, at the right time, in the right way. Instead of pulling the minister aside over morning tea to criticize his sermon, write a short request/question on your comment card indicating you’d like to catch up to discuss your concerns during the week. This allows you time to clarify your thoughts, and the pastor will be well-equipped to thoughtfully hear your concerns after resting from Sunday’s busyness.
15. Serve willingly and faithfully. Churches depend on volunteers. Without members regularly giving their time and energy, the church can’t operate. Whatever your gifts and abilities, seek opportunities to use them. If the need is not obvious, ask. If you’re on a roster, remember that dependability in service is an act of obedience to God and an act of love toward your church, so if you can’t serve one week, find a replacement—early! Playing a new worship song on Sunday? Be familiar with it before rehearsal. On set-up? Be on time. It’s no use arriving late once most of the hard tasks are done. Remember, cultivating a godly heart in service is about loving others even when we don’t ‘feel’ like it.
16. Extend grace to others. Anyone can forget they were on the roster, or make an inappropriate remark, or rebuke another harshly. Just remember how you would like to be treated. Be forgiving.
17. Give regularly. Yes, you should give out of the love in your heart from God, not just because the church needs money. But, let’s be honest, the church needs money, whether for electricity, materials for the children, or to pay to use the songs we sing. So, be biblical and commit to sustained, regular giving that you can wisely afford and the church can count on.