Sometimes, I think we miss the forest for the trees. In our well-intentioned efforts to reach people, I think we overlook opportunities right in front of us. When churches begin a worship space renovation, a new construction project, launch a new campus, or transition to a portable building, the church intersects with the lives of general contractors, electricians, architects, designers, carpenters, painters, drywall crews, to name a few. We meet these people because of our need for a service, in the process of building or renovating something to reach people. But that list of tradespeople and project managers- they are people too. I wonder if God sees these relationships as the first wave, a trial, a test, to see if our churches are capable of handling the responsibility of a mass inflow of new people to reach when the building project is complete. Why should we not put forth the effort, intentionality and resources to reach a captivate audience of people who we’ve invited to join in the effort of the church to reach people?
So, I extend a challenge. If your church is renovating a space, or building a new facility, here’s a list of simple things to reach the first wave of people, already inside the worship space before opening weekend:
- Feed the crew lunch. A nice free warm meal is simple and speaks volumes to a job site crew (speaking from personal experience). What if churches budgeted for providing lunch for the job site into the cost of the project? If Fortune 500 companies have found value in providing on-site lunch for staff, why not do the same for the hands building a vehicle for the most important mission in the world?
- Serve coffee and donuts. Contractor types get rolling early. Coordination meetings often take place early in the day. Consider providing coffee and donuts for each meeting. Or, maybe even a big ol’ warm coffee pot on the site 24/7. Again a simple small expense that communicates the church cares about people.
- Write a Thank You note. By hand. Grab a list of names from the General Contractor and write a note. Express your appreciate for the willingness of the person to share their gift with the church, for their tenacity, for their dedication, for the pride carried in their workmanship.
- Talk to the Crew. Throw on jobsite clothes, not fancy pants and shoes and take a walk. Introduce yourself to folks around the site, address them by first name, look them in the eye. Ask “How are you doing today?” “What can I do for you?” Simple, disarming questions. You might find out about a hangup in the construction process that’s slowing their work, or making work more challenging. Even better, imagine what doors God might open for someone to share-maybe a burden they carry, a struggle, or a need. Better yet, what if the church responded just as we would when someone walked in our door. Maybe it’s placing a hand of the shoulder of a fellow brother and praying. Maybe it’s meeting a need in the contractor’s family.
- Pay an Invoice Early. Pay an invoice before the due date. Not because of an obligation, but as an act of gratitude and appreciation.
- Shut down the site. Give everyone a day off. Yes, I know, schedules are tight. But, go out on a limb, shut down the site, send folks home to spend the afternoon with their family. Go the extra mile and hand everyone on the site a gift card to an ice cream shop and encourage them to take their family or friends out for a treat, courtesy of the church.
- Offer a small group on the site. Advertise an opportunity for a small group – meeting around lunch break or the early pre-contractor hours of the morning.
- Invite! Throw an open house JUST for the construction crew and their families. Let them show off their work, and admire the work of others. Treat them as VIPs, walk them through each space as the guest of honor. Invite them to attend a service with their family.
Imagine what seeds would be planted! What an opportunity! When schedules compress, and the inevitable deadline approaches and it’s time to dial up the pace of the project, there won’t be a need to stand on a soapbox and deliver a speech about the mission, the cause and all the reasons why the project must be ready on time. There’s no need to attempt to get a team of contractors to buy-in to the church’s vision. Why?
Because they already understand.
They’ll know that this group of people is different. Because the church fed them, even though they didn’t “have” to. The church leaders learned their names, shared in the lives and were genuinely interested in their well being. Because the church paid an invoice, before it was technically due. Because the church, threw a opening party and their family was the guest of honor.
Willing to take the challenge? Shoot us a reply! We want to know who’s with us!!