As powerful as the Gospel is, it has its limitations. The Gospel cannot convert an empty chair. It is not good news to an empty room. The Gospel is good news for people only.
Just as the Gospel is not intended for dogs and cats (sorry pet lovers), it is not intended to be published, printed, blogged or preached to an audience that is absent. While it does contain great power and admonishment for its preparers, and the student striving to communicates its worth is often affected profoundly, the primary intent or landing place of the Gospel is a new and unregenerate audience.
So in addition to the hours of preparation of the message, there must be ample preparation of the crowd. Finding and accumulating people to hear is often one of the more difficult tasks of a Gospel giver. Here is a breakdown of several ways to get the chairs filled with people.
Pay attention to, and intensely manage these three areas: Informational, Atmospherics, and Personics.
- Informationals: These deal with a person’s need to KNOW. Everyone operates better and more comfortable when they have a general understanding of the basic environment and expectations. We can go a long way in helping keep the chairs filled if we sharpen up on information devices such as signs, printed materials and announcements. An abundant amount of pertinent information reduces awkwardness. A reduction in awkwardness keeps people in the chairs and makes them comfortable in inviting others to join them.
- Atmospherics: These deal with how a person THINKS. These are the physical things we can manage that make good impressions. Every Gospel presenter can work on the physical comfort of a person and the appealing nature of the immediate surroundings. Temperature, music, decorations and the availability of water and refreshments, all speak loudly and clearly that the presenter is concerned about the physical well being of the guests. Showing attention in these details softens the heart for spiritual truths. A comfortable chair goes a long way in making a clear Gospel presentation.
- Personics: (Yes, I know this is not a real word, but it expresses the right concept). Personics deals with how a person FEELS. All of these items are small and personal, yet they add up to a critical mindset in the potential Gospel hearer. A mom won’t even hear your well crafted words if she is worried about her child in the nursery. These manageable items need to be dealt with ahead of time to ensure that the person in the chair is really with you and not mentally somewhere else. These manageable items would include simple things like the following:
- Knowledge of the bathroom locations and children’s ministry locations.
- Knowing the well being, time frame, and personnel concerning children and nursery.
- Knowing the participation expectations of the adult services, such as time frames, rules for sitting, standing, praying, Bible reading, etc…
We all know a folding metal chair has no soul. Where the chair finds its worth is when it is holding a precious human being. A wise presenter of the Gospel knows that there must be ample and equal efforts in two areas: delivering a clear message and in filling the chair.