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Healthy ministries design their gathering environments with an awareness of visitors. The Bible refers to the Church as a family, and we “family” ought to be a place where the hurting and weary and lonely and fearful can feel safe.

It’s incredibly difficult to think like a visitor because we love comfort. It’s natural to get used to our routes and routines. In our comfort, we forget what it feels like to be new. The problem becomes that when connecting outsiders isn’t a priority, the ministry can become inward focused and apathetic.

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1 By Youth unites youth groups to SERVE people in need and
TRANSFORM entire neighborhoods…IN ONE DAY!

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This week, we’ll look at a few ideas to help your ministry be more welcoming and warm toward visitors.

ROAD TRIP!
A few weeks ago, I (Matt) reached in deep to our youth ministry bag o’tricks and pulled out a tried and true method for training students to be warmer. I wanted them to catch a vision for the kind of place our youth ministry could become.
I gathered a handful of our regular students and asked them to show up for “MYSTERY NIGHT” [Doug: “Wow! Real creative title Matt] [Matt: “Doug, I sense sarcasm]. I told them to bring four dollars, socks, and a few cans of food. I did this to throw them off. We didn’t need any of those items… I wanted to keep them guessing.

We gathered together at a local high school and drove to the church we were visiting. When we were about 5 minutes away, I pulled over and told them what we were doing and that they would have to enter the new youth group alone and not sit with anyone they knew.

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1 By Youth unites youth groups to SERVE people in need and
TRANSFORM entire neighborhoods…IN ONE DAY!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It would be an understatement to say they were surprised. Shock was more appropriate. Fear gripped everyone except for one extroverted senior. She said, “This will be great, I love meeting people.”

When we arrived to the church, I circled the parking lot and kicked them out one by one. “Where do we go,” the first student asked. I responded with, “WELCOME TO MYSTERY NIGHT! FIND YOUR WAY. LEMME KNOW IF YOU NEED A COMPASS.”
 

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