My friend and fellow Rockbridge Seminary professor, Kerry Mackey, has written a pointed blog post entitled First Impressions–Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway? YOURS! His post is directed at the church as a whole, but allow me to apply sixteen of his points to the Sunday School. In Part 1, I will share the first eight ways to take responsibility for first impressions in Sunday School. Mackey’s points are in all capitals followed by my commentary.
Before, during, and after Sunday School, think about these things:
- IF YOU SEE IT, FIX IT. Don’t keep passing problems. Address them. If a bulb is out. Change it. If you see trash. Pick it up.
- WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW, INTRODUCE YOURSELF. This works just as well with long-time Sunday School members as with first-time guests. Smile. Look them in the eyes. Stick out your hand. Listen. Remember names.
- HELP SOMEONE BEFORE THEY GET TO THE WELCOME CENTER. Escort them to their class or to worship afterwards. Introduce yourself. Help them find the welcome center. Be a friend.
- TAKE SOMEONE UNDER YOUR WING FOR THE DAY. NEVER WALK ALONE. Connect with people–members and especially guests. Stay with them in class, worship, and out to their car.
- IF SOMEONE LOOKS LIKE THEY NEED HELP, THEY USUALLY DO. HELP THEM. Offer help and stand ready to actually do it! Give them a hand. Take them where they need to go–even if it is out of your way. Be a servant.
- WHEN YOU FIND STUFF LAYING AROUND, REMOVE IT.Put it where it goes. Straighten up clutter and messes in classrooms, hallways, or wherever. Remove distractions and dangers.
- WHEN THE TRASH IS FULL, TAKE IT OUT. An overflowing trash can in a classroom or restroom can create a negative impression. Be proactive. Find a place to store full trash bags without having to walk out to a dumpster, and place it there.
- WALK YOUR CAMPUS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER EVERY [SESSION OF SUNDAY SCHOOL]. Arrive early. Look for problems. Pick up trash. Make sure facilities are ready. Turn on/off lights. Be alert for teachers and others needing help.
In Part 2, I will share the final eight ways to take responsibility for first impressions in your Sunday School. In the meantime, look through the eight actions. Which one(s) can you address this week in order to set an example? How could you lead your class, greeters, or teachers to take a more active role in addressing these actions? Remember the importance of first and last impressions! Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Just do it. Be revolutionary!