This blog article was originally written on April 17, 2015 and reprinted from JonPlotner.com.

Community. It’s a buzz word in the church world these days. Leaders are doing everything within their power to create it. Whether it’s a small group strategy or guest follow-up, as church leaders, we are attempting to do a better job in order to make a safe place for people to connect.

In my attempt to participate in creating community, I’ve stumbled upon a simple approach . . . an approach that takes a lot more time to execute. It requires more effort. And the results don’t necessarily translate into a trendy, retweetable technique for social media gone viral. However, it’s simple, but it’s work. Hard work. But if you really care, it’s quite easy.

Know their name.

Over the last few months, I’ve consciously attempted to get to the names of those that I serve and sit alongside. If you’re like me, you see the same faces week after week. You might have caught their name weeks or months ago, but for the life of you, you can’t remember it. We need to change that. I’ve had to change that. I’ve had to care enough to work hard at remembering. But honestly, I cheat. I write their names down now. I walk away from a conversation with their name still in my mind, and I translate that into my technology — aka my iPhone. I jot down their name in my list of notes along with a couple of reminders about their story.

Know their story.

People want you to know their name and then they want you to know their story. Ask questions. I wrote about that a few months ago.  Ask where they came from, where they work, what they do, what they like to do, and why they’re here. It still amazes me that a few well-formed questions open the door for the floodgates. People love to talk about themselves. Even the most introverted likes to talk about themselves. So ask. The more you ask the more you can care.

Know that you care.

They need to know that you care about them. Remember their story and ask. Ask how their sick child is doing. Ask about the job that has been rough as of late. Ask about their ailing parents that they shared are struggling in their latter days. Just care. Send them a text message during the week. Drop them a note on their Facebook timeline. And go old school . . . send them a note in the mail. They need to know that you truly care . . .  more than your small group strategy . . .more than your guest follow-up process. They matter more than all of that. I believe the end result translates into something we weren’t expecting . . . Community.

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