When I was younger I can always remember that dreadful time when I had to go shopping with my mom and she would tell me how she had to go get some new underwear. Please no, not the new underwear time!!
Off we would go into the women’s underwear aisle we would disappear too. The whole time all I could do as a young 6-year-old boy would be to look down at the floor and wish we could get out of there. Everything there made me feel uncomfortable. I knew I would never find anything that I wanted while we were in those aisles. I had no conversation that would be joined, thoughts or opinions to give; basically, I knew I was about to be as miserable as a 6-year-old boy could be for the next 15 minutes or so.
Now come with me to this toy box I have in my office.
Every time, I meet with families in my office and they have younger kids as they enter my office those kids will lock their eyes upon this toy box that I have and immediately go to it and start to play. I have yet to really have to tell any child that the toys are for them to play with, they just know. While they play, the parents and I will meet. I love watching the kids play with their imagination being set free to build new worlds, conquer territory, cook at the fanciest restaurant in town, entertain Kings and Queens, and so much more.
What lessons did I learn from these experiences? The lesson of an atmosphere. In all of our ministries, and churches we are creating either an underwear type experience for kids, students and yes even adults or we are creating a toy box time for each.
When visitors come, do they feel miserable? Uncomfortable because they can’t give anything or that everything around is irrelevant for them?
Let us all try to strive for those toy box experiences for people. People will know as soon as they come into your ministry if there is anything for them or not.
How will you change your environment to be more welcoming to those who just come in?