How do you start a new church?
You tell people about it.
Sounds simple right? Well, not for me. I hate to be perceived as pushy, salesy or “yanking your arm” in any way. And so I tend to shy away from giving the schpeel about our church, even though …
I believe in the vision
I agree with the mission
I want people to know Christ
I think our church is pretty cool
Even then… I still have a hard time. I watched Erik meet a salesclerk and give the schpeel–and even though my tension rose as I tried to evaluate her response, she seemed just fine! She listened, knodded and say, “Oh! Well isn’t that nice.” (With full Wisconsin accent of course.)
So, I’m trying. In my own way.
Without these things, I wouldn’t know how to start conversations! But having Joshua is an easy in. And the tattoos have proven themselves awesome conversation starters again and again and again.
Case(s) in point ….
At the park the other day, as our children ran around the playground, I met a lady and told her I was new to the area (another easy-in for us right now–it makes people ask us questions!). Told her briefly we are here to start a church. It got a little awkward, as sometimes people don’t know what to say to that. Weird thing is, yesterday Erik and Joshua and I went down to a lake side park in Madison and who comes walking up the sidewalk?? This lady and her son! So, we met again, and laughed about how we’d both end up at the same place so far from home. I am now fervently praying that we’ll meet again and again and again. 🙂
At the diner in downtown Sun Prairie, a family of three (Mom, Dad, 10 yr old girl) sat across the aisle from us in their own booth. They ate in peace, while we ate and managed a one year old who has truly discovered the tantrum. (At one point he reared his head back so hard he hit it on the wall, thus screaming louder. Beautiful. I’m pretty sure the whole restaurant turned to watch as I took him outside to calm down.) Niceties were exchanged about how they would trade their 15 year old for our one year old (I think they’re crazy) and we got up to leave. Erik and Joshua walked out, and while I gathered the diaper bag, the Dad says, “So, how much did those hurt?” indicating my wrists.
Yea for tattoos.
This led into a quite long conversation about tattoos, pastors, why they don’t attend church, how old their kids are, where I live, where they live, what my husband does, how they never woulda guessed he was a pastor, how great Sun Prairie is for raising kids, how they chose their daughter’s name, how I share the ten year old’s middle name, until finally I asked, “Soooo….does your daughter babysit?”
Now they have a flier for our church, and I have their home phone, all their names, and a great start to a fun relationship with a family who lives only 2 blocks from us! Tattoos and a one year old–nice!
Crazy coincidence, if you believe in those …
We then stopped by our landlords place to give them some paperwork. After chatting for a while, I mentioned something about meeting a family at the diner, and their daughter Hope babysits … and my landlord’s face went from confused, to thinking hard to … “Oh! You mean the (insert last name)?” And I said, “Uh….yes….” and she said, “Oh my! Their ten year old is close friends with my daughter! What a great family …. “
Hilarious. This happened the same day that I had run into the lady and her son downtown. God is connecting us all over the place!
And just now, at the park, thank goodness for my one year old … a young girl, far too young to have the three kids she was playing with, was at the park. I asked her if she was babysitting and she said yep! Turns out she’s a college student who lives 15 minutes from here and babysits. I started to walk home, but seriously felt like I was supposed to go talk to her more and get her info. So, I did. I said, “Sorry if this seems odd, but I’m new to the area and sometime soon my husband and I are going to need a date night! Can I get your contact info?” I told her we’re here to start a new church, and she seemed intrigued. Typical me, I didn’t launch into the schpeel, but I will now proceed to connect with her, ask her to babysit and see where the relationship goes!
Erik and I are going to have a go on a lot of date nights if I keep using babysitting as a way to meet people!
And so, this is how you start a church, and further God’s kingdom. Kristin-style.