There is an old adage that goes something like this: “It’s not what you know but who you know that brings success.” Among the most important things we do as humans on this earth is to connect with others. We find jobs, friends, opportunities and support through our connections with others. In fact, connection, that is our relationships, is God’s plan for how the human race is to live.

Connection in the church is absolutely vital for a healthy community to develop. New people coming through the door must always be gathered into the family by a process where relationships are built and friendships grow. Inviting people to join you for lunch after church is a great way to begin to build lasting and loving relationships. Just taking some time before and after our services to visit with new people is far more effective than any program we can run. John Wimber used to say, “People come to church for many reasons but they stay for only one; relationship.”

Do you ever see people in our church you don’t know? I look for people who seem a bit bewildered or are looking around at our lobby like they may not know what to do next. I open the door to them with simple questions such as:

• “Hi, my name is Dan. What’s yours?”

• “How long have you been attending?”

• “How did you find us here at the Vineyard?”

These simple questions generally break the ice with almost anyone. Most people love to talk about themselves and will freely share information. This can be the start of lasting and sometimes empowering relationships.

Connecting out of the church is as important as connecting in the church. Its here we encounter most of the people who don’t know anything about Jesus. They’re looking for answers and may not even realize it. As we connect with those on the outside, we can often invite them to come to the inside. It is far less intimidating to come to church with a friend because of an invitation than it is to walk into a church facility all by yourself.

Most people are continually looking for friends and connection. They often can’t find them and don’t even know where to look. My hope is that you will be bold about inviting people to come to church, small groups and other fun activities that involve the church family. You will be surprised how many people will gladly accept an invitation. When you do invite them and spend time with them at the gathering, help them get connected to others in addition to you.

Christmas is a prime time to invite people to join you in church. Our Christmas Eve services are perfect for people who are not yet in the Kingdom but willing to accept your invitation.

Christianity was never meant to be a solo journey, but rather a journey in community, moving in unison with our Father in Heaven. Make it a priority to reach out to new people in this season of Christmas. It will make a big difference in connection, both inside and outside the church.

This is the time of year lots of new people come around. Be aware of new faces and pour your heart into connecting with them.