2 Questions to Ask Every Guest at Your Church
When 2 people are conversing, who is in charge of the conversation? Is it the one talking the most? Is it the one listening the most? Is it the one talking the loudest? Experts say none of these.
The person who is in charge of any conversation is the person asking the questions.
Now the goal of any conversation with a guest at your church is certainly not to be in charge of it. But I think we become "disconnectors" instead of connectors when we feel that we have to sell our church with many words and lots of talking. Connection happens best when we ask people the right questions and let them talk.
That's why Jesus was such a good question asker:
"Where are your accusers?"
"Who do you say that I am?"
"Which one was his neighbor?"
"Whose face is on this coin?"
"Do you want to be healed?"
Many times when Jesus was asked a question, he asked another question instead of giving an answer!
At our church, we have 2 questions that we train our people to ask when they come to our hospitality area (we call it Guest Central) and especially when they come to our monthly "meet the pastor" type dinner or lunch that we call First Step with Gene. They are not rocket science by any stretch. They are however perfectly crafted to help our guests connect with each other when they find themselves sitting at a lunch or dinner table with other new people at our church, people whom they have also never met. The 2 questions are these:
- How did you find our church?
- What made you come back a 2nd time?
Simple I know. Why do we use these questions? (Note how I'm trying to stay in charge of the conversation here....) These question have 2 qualities that make them perfect for new people at your church: First, they are not too personal and second, every other guest at the table has them in common.
At First Step with Gene, we have a Table Host present to greet each guest, introduce them to the others seated at the table, and ask these 2 questions. Here is what happens at each table...
When Question #1 is asked, everyone hears a story like their own: a friend or family member invited them, they were searching for a resource and found our website, their teen started coming and they wanted to check it out, etc. The commonality in these stories allows each person to breath a sigh of relief as they find themselves in like company. (In my next post, I will share the best answer I have ever heard to this question).
When Question #2 is asked, the connecting begins. Some say it was Gene's teaching. Other's say it was how friendly the people were. Some the music, others the children and youth ministries. As these answers are shared, people start to say, "That's why I came back. Did you here the message 2 weeks ago?" "What about that song during communion today", or "My son has such good friends here that I was kind of curious to meet the people he talks so much about".
The collective experience at the tables where these questions are asked becomes one of "Me too!" They are so good at stimulating connection that Gene, our Senior Pastor, and I have a challenge getting the program started from up front...there is just too much connecting going on.
One time, we had a table connect so well that it launched as a small group! That is the power of questions. Thats why Jesus asked them and why we should leverage their power as Sherpas helping new people make the climb toward becoming connected serving members of God's family.
- What is a question Jesus asked someone that you find particularly powerful or instructive? How so?
- What do you think is the most frequently asked question visitors are asked at your church? Why?
- Do you have a setting at your church where these 2 questions could be used to help make initial connections for visitors?