26 January, 2015

Building Relationships This Year

Back in November we met with the pastor and an elder of our home church. It was a long discussion, but one of the results was:
Their challenge to us ... to get to know as many people as we can in the church so they feel connected to what we do before we go back next year.
It's gradually happening. We had lunch at the house of a key family from our church last week and stayed into the evening. Yesterday we hosted a BBQ, inviting two families over after church.

Our six-week long break from deputation is just about finished, along with the relaxed pace of the school holidays. So it's about to become more difficult to fit social engagements in. However, we've got a bit of work to do if we're going to invite more people around for meals. It does seem that that's a great way to fast-forward relationships. Just seeing people around after church or at other events isn't enough, more time needs to be invested.

What was really cool about yesterday was that we also could spontaneously invite the guest preacher and his wife and five boys over to join us. Their church supports us too and we'd first met them at not too long before Christmas at their church, so it was good to be able to see them again. Building relationships, it's our catch-cry for the year in Oz.

The other great thing about having people over who haven't had much contact with missionaries before is that we can have much less difficult, less forced conversations about mission. While chilling in the air con after eating yesterday we fielded casual questions about our lives. Just like any other person would have when being asked about their lives as you got to know them.

I'm really tempted to go on a rabbit trail giving advice here. If you invite a missionary or pastor to come to serve at your church on a Sunday and they've driven over an hour to get there, or you finish church at a time that means it's meal time. And especially if they have kids! Make sure that they are provided for, the best thing would be to have a church member invite them over for a meal. It's just courtesy. And you never know, in blessing them you might actually be blessed yourself!

But back to now, I need to go and bake a cake to take to an Australia Day BBQ we've been invited to at the house of friends from church this afternoon.

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