I arrived at Easter Sunday church during a torrential Florida downpour. Streets were flooding and the church parking lot looked like it could host a water ski tournament.
As I jumped out of my car and headed for the church building I was greeted by a friendly young man in rain gear carrying an umbrella. He greeted me with a paradoxical sunny disposition and walked me from my car to the covered walk way. He then ran off to greet the next apprehensive still-dry visitor.
No message from the pulpit that Easter morning could have conveyed their welcome attitude as much as the selfless act from the man with the umbrella.
“To move an audience, especially a diverse audience, from where they are to where you want them to be requires common ground. If you want me to follow you on a journey, you have to come get me. The journey must begin where I am, not where you are or where you think I should be.”
To grow you must leave the comfort of your station, run out to the new listener with an umbrella and say, “Welcome!”; meet them where they are, understand their interests and values, and communicate to them in their language. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But more often than not we simply aren’t willing to get wet.
John Maxwell said, “People will not always remember what you said. They will not always remember what you did. But they will always remember how you made them feel.”