Have you ever considered that your church needs to get over being friendly?

Frequently when I show up at a church to help with guest services training, I’m approached by a sweet little blue haired lady who tells me, “Brother Danny,” (I know I’m in an awesome church when they call me “Brother Danny”) “I’m not sure what you’re going to teach us tonight. Our church is so friendly. We just love each other!”

And you know what? She’s almost always right. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken at a church that wasn’t friendly. No one has ever slammed the door in my face or told me to get out and stay out (at least, not before they’ve heard me speak). No, I observe the hugs, the handshakes, the good natured ribbing, the encouragement and the camaraderie that goes hand in glove with the body of Christ being the body of Christ.

But there’s a huge difference between friendly and intentional, and it’s revealed in the last sentence of that hypothetical-yet-representational statement: “We just love each other.”

You see, I’m friendly to the people I know. But it takes intentionality to be friendly to the people I don’t yet know.

Friendly is a conversation with a long-time friend. Intentional is reaching out to the new person that just walked through the door.

Friendly assumes that someone is going to take care of the stranger in the auditorium. Intentional will always act rather than assume.

Friendly will smile at a first time guest, intentional takes the initiative to cross the room and talk to them.

Friendly hopes that “everyone is a greeter,” intentional makes a plan to keep people from falling through the cracks.

Friendly will make someone believe you’re glad they showed up. Intentional makes them believe you want them to come back.

Friendly thinks about it. Intentional does it.

So how about it? Does your church need to get over being friendly?