"I was a stranger and you took me in" (Matthew 25:35).
I am thankful for the many people in my twenty-five plus years of ministry that "took me in." Each time a pastor moves to a new church, he is a stranger to the church and community. One of the best ways a church can get to know their pastor and his family is to invite them to join you. Here are five ways to get to know your pastor and his family.
1. Invite your pastor and his family to lunch on Sunday. Believe it or not, your pastor may not already have plans for Sunday lunch. A simple invite to join you at a local restaurant would be a welcomed opportunity. If he does have plans, keep asking or make plans for the following week.
2. Invite your pastor to join you at a sporting event. I still have the ticket from a UK vs. UNC basketball game in 2004 in which a church member invited me to attend with him. Through the years I have been to dance recitals, wrestling matches, horse shows, high school football games, band competitions, and more because of a simple invite. This doesn't have to be a ticketed event. Invite your pastor to watch "the big game" on television with your family.
3. Invite your pastor and wife to join you at something you enjoy. I have friends who have annual traditions (many at Christmas) and have invited us to join them in their traditions. For example, one couple invited us to join them on a "drive thru Christmas light show." Another couple invited us to join them for a Christmas concert. Another couple invited us to join them for Christmas at "Old Salem" in North Carolina. Your pastor and wife would enjoy spending this time with you.
4. Invite your pastor and family over for dinner. It doesn't even have to be fancy. In fact, the paper plates and plastic-ware would be just fine. Your pastor isn't there because of the fine china, but because he genuinely wants to get to know you. He might even enjoy sharing in one of your favorite card or board games.
5. Invite your pastor to a community event with you. Your pastor may not be aware of all the local events in a community. He certainly may not have time to attend them all. However, if he is attending the event with church members, it would give him an opportunity to spend time with you. I've been invited to Christmas parades, Relay for Life, community festivals, the county fair, and more. Your pastor will enjoy these events much more if he is attending them with someone from the church.
Here's the key: lather, rinse, and repeat. Don't just make one invitation. Relationships are built over time. Your pastor really does care about you and wants to get to know you. Just remember, he's the "stranger" and "take him in."
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."