Do you struggle knowing members of your church family? Maybe one or two of these ideas will be helpful to you:
1. Friend them on Facebook. You may not always like what you learn, but you’ll know a lot more about some church members.
2. Go to their workplace. Men especially like to talk about their jobs, and you’ll understand better what they face each week.
3. Meet with them via Skype or FaceTime. Use technology to meet folks in their home, workplace or university. You control the time, and your members remain in their comfort zone.
4. Follow them on Twitter. Again, what you learn may stress you out, but that’s part of shepherding people.
5. Learn to ask a lot of questions. Regardless of the setting, lead your members to tell you about themselves. You can learn a lot about a person in five minutes of Q & A if you refuse to talk about yourself.
6. Have conversations prior to the service. Intentionally hang out with your people before the service begins. Those few minutes with you might make somebody’s week.
7. Create your own pictorial directory. Ask your members to send you an electronic picture of their family. Then, work on recognizing faces and names.
8. Pray for each family at least once per quarter. If you contact them to get prayer requests before you pray, you’ll know your people at a more intimate level.
9. Regularly attend small groups. Perhaps you already attend a particular group. That’s great, but you might also consider attending more than one group throughout the year.
10. Ask everyone to wear nametags. Readers disliked this idea when I first proposed it, but I stand by it. You’ll know people better when they help you know their names.
11. Teach the membership class. In what is often a smaller setting, get to know members when they first join. They want that time with church leaders.
12. Support children and student ministries. If you want to meet families—or learn about broken families—hang out where the children and students are.
13. Schedule a regular breakfast or lunch. That’s intentionality: planning time with a different member or family at least once a month.
14. Include video introductions on your church website. Let your families (all of them, including the long-term members) introduce themselves to one another and to the community.
15. Never do ministry alone. If you never do ministry by yourself, you wisely protect yourself from temptation while also getting to know somebody.
What other ideas would you add? What’s worked for you?