I have some potentially shocking news for you, so perhaps you should sit down.
Ready? Here goes.
Not everyone likes small talk.
Shocking, I know, but true.
Small talk is crafted around the idea that you have a small window of time to engage with someone, usually a stranger, so it’s best to keep the conversation light and shallow. Acceptable topics: Weather (“beautiful day!”), general health (“fine”), observable circumstances (“Look at that cute puppy!”), and common aggravations (“The bus is late again!”). Unacceptable topics: Politics, politics, and politics.
For close friends, small talk is the stuff we use to get to the bigger conversation. “How was your week? Not good? Tell me more about that…”
Each week after the service we serve coffee and snacks with the intention of slowing us down a bit. Connect time keeps us from running for the parking lot and jumping into the next thing in our day. It allows us to linger in the presence of other believers, strengthen friendships, and build into one another.
Unfortunately, we tend to speak with the same group of people each week. They’re the people you came with, you sit with, or you socialize with outside of Sunday morning. Those are the people you have actual conversations with, and for everyone else it is just small talk.
As we have come through the Convictions of Discipleship series and have been made aware of the importance of helping others “take a step to the right”, I wonder if we might better use the minutes after the message to encourage one another and to build one another up to be Christ-learners. Could those first five minutes build into someone, strengthen their faith, challenge their thinking, and deepen their connection to the local church?
On Thanksgiving weekend we gave everyone name tags with coloured stickers, and after the service you were encouraged to talk with someone outside of your normal circle of friends who had the same sticker as you.
Greens greeted the greens, purples parlayed with purples, yellows yelled at yellows (Not really, but there’s not that many ‘y’ words).
Those stickers made it much easier for those who don’t have a close circle of friends to talk with others, and to make some new connections. Plus there was the added benefit of a name tag, so you could try to learn a few names! Sure there was some small talk at first, but it was really fun to overhear some of you go out on a limb and ask about family, holiday traditions, and your favourite pie recipes!
What do we take from this? In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we want to challenge you to spend the first five minutes after each service speaking with someone outside of your usual group of friends. You might find that what begins with small talk can blossom into a disciple-making relationship of helping someone else take a step to the right and grow in their faith as they follow Jesus Christ.
If you need come conversation starters, come and talk to us. We’re putting together some material to help you better engage with others after the message, and we’d love for you to test it out and give us your feedback.
This week, let’s give our first five to God and His mission, and see what He can do as we encourage one another in the faith.
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