Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes:
It is important for pastors and church leaders to know how to work a crowd.
Oh my goodness! You now think I have slipped a cog. How in the world can anyone in ministry possibly think about ‘working the crowd’? That is so phoney. Further, it must be as far away from godliness as one can get. What’s up with that?
Relax. Let’s start with definition. What does ‘working the crowd’ mean? Typically it means …
- Walking into a room of people, shaking hands and talking to as many people as possible
- With a purpose in mind
- Learning as much as you can about as many people and things as you can
- Networking with as many people as you can.
When viewed from a carnal perspective, working a crowd is seen as the high-level skill of snake oil salesmen. Flashy smile, strong handshake, never-met-a-stranger type of person. The motives of those who work crowds always seem to be in question.
In fact, it is motive that reveals how what we do in the church differs from what is done in the world.
Here are two major reasons why a pastor or church leader needs to gain this skill with right motive.
- You are in the people business. You need to know more not fewer people
- People need to see and touch you. Nothing like looking into a person’s eyes with rapt attention.
I believe one of the strongest gifts a pastor or church leader can have is their ability to work a crowd with right motive. They need to meet people, remember people and things about them, and use that knowledge to best minister to them and to others. This is where ‘motive’ is so important.
Let me submit that when a church leader is rightly motivated to work a crowd, to know a crowd, to shake hands with people, to look into their eyes with ‘genuine’ interest, to feel their joy and sadness, that church leader is doing a very good thing. If they do any of those things in wrong motivation, they are the ultimate in church leader phoniness. Believe me, this generation can spot that a mile away. Be clear about this. Do not be phoney!
10 pastoral essentials
Here are some things I recommend a church leader consider when working a crowd. These are real, they are doable, and they are right.
- Always approach people with genuine interest
- Never see a connection with any person as self-serving or of any personal gain
- Don’t give preferential treatment. Talk to all ethnicities, rich, poor and everyone in between
- When speaking to anyone in a crowd, look directly into their eyes.
- Never look past the person to whom you are talking and on to the next person
- Do everything possible to communicate your complete focus on the one you’re talking to
- Consider having someone with you to take notes on important details worth remembering
- Don’t use limp fish handshakes. Male or female, use an appropriately firm grip
- Never work the crowd for your own ego
For some church leaders, this is an extremely unnatural act. Often it’s because they are not a naturally sanguine, extrovert type of person. They see themselves by nature as introverted. And yet even for introverted people, this business of ministry is all about people.
It is about the people in your church and your community to whom you have the responsibility to know and to minister. When faced with a crowd of 10 or 100, Jesus’ instruction is clear to ‘Go’ and not sit back. Go into the crowd and meet people. He did. Your motive is right. It is good to work the crowd when doing so expands the network of those to whom you can minister.
At the end of the day, it does not matter how well you understood the issues of ministry and of people. It matters if you touched lives for eternity. Work the crowd.
Meet people. You might be surprised. There may just be someone at the end of one of those handshakes who is open to more than a cursory meeting. They may be open to the most important introduction of all, and you are just the person to make that happen!
Recommended – Dick Hardy’s Right Turns – Link: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strategist and futurist David Cheah shares:
It’s a new year, so we all do what we usually do, reflect on the past, audit our present, set goals for the future. And then, 12 months later, we do it all over again. It’s pretty much the same pattern in schooling, and at work. Does it really make any sense?
Einstein once said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ In time, some not-so-informed wannabe motivator decided to turn that quote into the oft-used but totally misguided definition for insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results. And attributing that definition to Einstein himself!
Anyway, I digress – the point I am trying to make in this post is – Focus is very important for anyone, from the very, very young, to the very, very old. We lament these days as parents, educators and learners that the ‘current’ generation (X, Y, Z, Millennials, Alpha and such) all lack this elusive and rare trait to focus. Is that true?
Digging further, we start to realise that there could be three main reasons why we struggle to focus.
- We are easily distracted – ie we don’t know (or want to choose) what’s important and what’s not
- There are too many things crying for our attention – from the really mundane to the really useful and urgent
- We worry too much.
For me personally, focusing is more a choice than a character trait or habit. The ability to focus (especially as you get older) banks on my self-discipline and self-control. Of course, there are tools and techniques (see below) that can help, but generally, it all comes down to discipline.
If we can get learners to focus, I think the battle is half won. So, how can we do this effectively?
1. One thing – Focus!
Have you ever heard of The Pomodoro Technique? Maybe that can help. And thankfully, there’s an app (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pomodoro-timer-focus-on-your/id703145045?mt=8) for that too!
We should really spend more of our time and attention on what make us tick. There are now so many convergences happening – one of my favourites – science and emotions – there are so many videos here to get started.
Along the way, you will learn how to better equip yourself against science used against you and your willpower. And of course, there are wonderful apps to help you stay sane in an insane world.
3. Getting things done
One of the biggest setbacks to a productive schedule is worry. Anxiety, fear and worry can disable anyone, kill enthusiasm and trigger paralysis. Once you understand the science and look at techniques or systems such as GTD to overcome (or sidestep, more like) worry and anxiety, you’ll become more productive.
Apps are just a few tools you can use to help you get started.
I believe once we get the discipline to focus and become clearer about whom we really are, what drives us and why we do what we do, we can have more enriched and fulfilling lives.
Here’s to an extraordinary year (and life!)
David Cheah is a gadgeteer believing that he is in geek heaven with the plethora of gadgets and resources available anytime, anywhere. Coupled with his passion for truth and all things spiritual, David believes that there must be a higher purpose for gadgets and is totally dedicated to evangelising how we can use gadgets to fulfil the higher purpose of spiritual growth. Links: email@example.com / 0403 979 986
HIGHLIGHT EXCERPTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
NOTE: Great leadership articles are available from many internet sources but we don’t have the resources/personnel to reset them there. The following are some chosen extracts from good writers that caught our attention – we recommend evaluating the original material. See the recommended list at the end of this category.
David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group and co-author of The Hyperlinked Life (Zondervan, 2014), wrote in a February edition…
The knowledge revolution is on us. As with most revolutions, this one comes with a promise for the masses – a better life. In this case, the hyperlinked life: constant access to customised, personalised, on-demand information, what we want to know, when we want it…
How does the hyperlinked lifeline up with the abundant life Jesus promised? We are full of information, but our lives seem depleted. We certainly have lives full of information, but our daily lives – our time, our intimacy with God and with others, our time to just think and be – seem to be depleted…
All revolutions are meant to change the world, and the knowledge revolution has done that. Now we must work hard to live faithfully in this new world…
We must begin by enlarging our definition of stewardship. We talk about stewarding time, treasure, and talent. Let’s add technology to that list. Today’s digital world drives how we spend our time, how we use our money, and what we make (or don’t make) of our talents…
To equip people to follow Jesus in this new hyperlinked world, we must provide them with a broader understanding of stewardship. How can you help people make sense of the information barrage? How would Jesus use a smart phone? How can we make technology a useful servant rather than a cruel master?…
We need to prepare a generation of ‘knowledge workers’ for lives of purpose in these and related fields, and empower them with a sense of the importance of their vocation.
ALTAR CALLS AND PRAYER LINES
Adapted from good advice from the National Office Apostolic Church Australia.
It remains a challenge for churches to manage situations like altar calls and prayer lines. It is reasonable to foresee that some people may fall while being prayed for so it is a wise leadership practice to ensure that all people are safe if and when this happens. It has happened that people who have fallen during prayer have taken legal action against churches for not adequately ensuring their safety.
These simple steps should be adhered to and will protect those who are being prayed for, the leaders who pray, and others who may be affected.
1. Train assistants in…
‘People handling’ skills so they’ll know how to safely assist people who fall at altar calls.
2. Only pray for people when …
Assistance is in place to ensure that the person being prayed for is safe. If a person refuses assistance, have him/her sit rather than stand – it may be less spectacular but far safer with the same potential for blessing.
3. Have a responsible leader overseeing…
The altar area to observe, manage and note any incident that is potentially dangerous. A report of a critical incident should be filed with the church’s national executive office as soon as possible after the event.
RECOMMENDED LEADERSHIP LINKS
• Breaking Christian News http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/
• Christianity Today http://christianitytoday.com
• Church Leaders Update http://www.churchleaders.com
• Dan Black On Leadership http://www.danblackonleadership.com
• Ed Stetzer http://www.EdStetzer.com
• Faith & Leadership http://www.faithandleadership.com
• Hardy Group http://www.thehardygroup.org
• Leadership Journal Newsletter http://www.christianitytoday.com
• NACBA MultiBrief http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/nacba
• My Christian Daily http://www.mychristiandaily.com/
• Ron Edmondson www.mustardseedministry.com