I was asked to deliver a presentation for a group of leaders at a church. This long established institution is growing, building a new sanctuary, and looking to invite additional families into their congregation. They have a wonderful community, but if left to chance they would not have the same levels of success in their expansion. A seminar to bring the internal leaders onto point in regards to creating a "welcome wagon mentality" was right on target.
In discussions on ideas for the program I came up with the theme of "Ambassadors for Growth", as it was clear that this church wants to highlight its grassroots culture and encourage existing members to take an active roll in making new families feel welcome.
I spent many hours working on my "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships" presentation to customize the messages to meet the needs of a religious community instead of a business organization.
I consulted with several friends who are active in their religious communities (from several different religions), and found similar concepts around how "People Are Seeking A Feeling of Connection". This is the same point I teach when I speak to companies and law firms, or coach individuals on business development topics.
The seminar I conducted for thirty leaders in this faith community was an hour presentation followed by another hour of facilitated discussion. The idea that every church leader and member was an "Ambassador for Growth" resonated well with the participants. There was an excitement in the room when all agreed to expand the existing a culture of connection throughout the parish by taking a specific action step. While many useful ideas were shared, and will be embraced... one idea from the crowd was the "ah ha" moment in the dialogue:
Each of the thirty people in the room would recruit three other "ambassadors" who would agree to meet one new person or family each week following the services. This would equal nearly 100 people who would approach one stranger (existing member or the church or new-comer), and make them feel more welcome.
What was best about this action is that even an introvert can agree to talk to one person a week, and with 100 people doing this, the idea would spread to others. Soon there will be more connecting going on within the church, and thus it will become a more welcoming place (this church already has a welcoming reputation, but wants to do even more!).
Simple. Sure. But without having the leaders all sit together and discuss the process, it would just be another idea that everyone assumes is already happening, or was too simple to have an impact. People over-think and over-analyze concepts all the time rather than taking action. This little action, if executed, will be a seed that can sprout into a mighty oak!
Leading this workshop was a great experience. I love when the message of my presentations translates to new demographics and diverse audiences. I also get very charged up when the best ideas and action items come from the participants sharing and inspiring each other.
Have I mentioned I love my job!
Have A Great Day.