I guess I never really thought about it enough. Why do doctor’s offices all call you ahead of appointments to confirm? Yes, I have forgotten a few, but very few. I run a pretty good calendar and don’t mess up very often. I guess I just think since I’m a responsible adult, why check up on me? But it must be that it pays them to do so in increased appointment-keeping by patients.
This last week was our monthly High PEAKS leadership training night. Attendance has been very low the last couple months. So JoAnne encouraged me to take two additional steps besides the traditional bulletin reminder to promote attendance; send out the reminder email further ahead with a response request this time, and make some last minute follow-up calls to those I had not heard from. I took her advice. Surprise! I estimate that the combination of added preparation for attendance doubled the number at High PEAKS last Thursday evening, despite the fact that several regulars were away. I’ve always thought; all my leaders know this is a monthly event, why remind them? But apparently it pays big dividends to do so.
This made me think about all of our habits of preparation as church leaders. I know, for example, that for Sunday morning, I spend nearly all my preparation time either preparing my content, preparing my delivery, or preparing my heart, but I don’t think about specifically helping to draw in the congregation. I just assume; they know it’s Sunday; they will want to come to worship. I think Bible study leaders and children’s Sunday school teachers do the same. But now I’m seriously wondering if we are not missing something that is much needed today. What would happen if every week, I explicitly spend a portion of my preparation time working to directly encourage attendance? Now that I think of it, I recall having done that for some special events in the past and seen results. How could I do some of that each week?
I believe the need for this is increasing because of the ever increasing level of busyness and distraction that we all live with. We have so many choices that we need that personal touch to be influenced to focus even on one that we know is so important. This is a twenty-first century way that we can “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24 NIV).