So, you want to reach out? You want to make a difference? You want to grow “your” ministry or group? You don’t want to just be the person who tells your members/regulars to “bring their friends?” You’ve gone ahead and read about the need to “Earn the Right to be Heard?” You wonder what you need to do next? I’m glad you wondered.
The first thing is to realize that your family, your immediate friends and all those presently close to you are either going to be on board with you or they are not. They will either attend your group/organization or they won’t. Remember, repeatedly asking them will only alienate them and drastically change the quality of your relationship. Rather than earning the right to be heard you will be putting a condition on the existing relationship that will strain and eventually sever many of said relationships. You must look to reach out beyond your existing circle of relationships.
Secondly, you need to be seen. “Seen?” you ask. Yes. Remember, if this was a one step plan and process then everyone would have no problem doing it. However, as so many churches, youth groups, businesses and organizations remain stagnant it is evident that not everyone is “doing it.” Breaking it down to very doable steps is the best way for you to have success.
So, you need to be seen. Seen by two groups of people. The first group are people that are already in your world but not in your “inner circle” of friends/family/etc. Many of the other steps of this process will be more effective in growing these relationships but being seen is a very vital tool. Wherever you know this group from, take it to a new level by showing up in the rest of their world. No, not their house, that would be creepy. Where do they recreate? Where do they shop? Where do they take their kids to play? What are their activities? Whether it be a different playground, grocery store, coffee shop, bar, or restaurant…go there. Show up in “their” world. Be seen. This will greatly enhance your existing non-relationship that you have with these people who are around you. It will also set the stage for the steps that will be taught in the coming posts.
The second group of people are further away from you both physically and relationally. It’s everyone else that you don’t know at all. It’s the rest of your community outside of the regular places that you frequent on a consistent basis. You need to be seen by them to be able to “earn the right” to be heard by them down the road. The same method as above is basically the way to go here as well. Just go where they are and where you don’t normally frequent. It can be as simple as going to the same places that you go now but going at different times. Give yourself (and God) the opportunity to see people you don’t normally see and, more importantly, for them to see you. This totally sets up everything that is about to follow. At the very least it widens your circle of influence and makes greater the opportunity for you to lead others and love others.
Lastly, I hear it very often that people feel invisible. In a lot of cases you are. Odds are you like it that way and it helps you be more “efficient” with your time. You can hurry home, or the office, or to church, and not be bogged down with unnecessary conversations that slow you to a crawl. At this point I have to ask YOU a question. Is reaching out to others a goal/burden of yours or is it not? Do you really want to grow your group, business, church, etc. or would it simply be nice if it happened? If you do want it to grow do these things. You can actually “be seen” much more even in your existing circles. You don’t need to roll into your office or grocery store on a unicycle while juggling three legged kittens. Just make eye contact, wave, nod, take a different path, smile, hold a door, leave your door open, walk tall. Be seen. Have at least that much confidence…you can do it.
Yes, there are more steps to follow but we will go one at a time. The number one way, beyond all of this, is to simply love others. Not just a happy feel lovey dovey towards people but actively meet their needs, material to a degree but much more emotionally and relationally. However, just like inviting your “friends” leaves you with an empty pool in a pretty short order, the number of people in your world that actively love is actually quite limited as well. Thus, be seen to grow that number. Where do we go from there? I’m glad you asked…we’ll go over that soon.