"Who Should I Speak To After Church?" might seem like a dumb question, but if you only ever talk to your friends, new people will never come back. On the flip side, if you only ever talk to new people, your relationships will be shallow and you’ll feel like a stranger in your own church.
Both are problematic. As a middle way, let me pass on some advice I received from a friend at church. After the formal part of your service, try speaking to people in the following order:
1. Talk to a newish person
Make them feel welcome.
If it’s their first time, find out where they’ve come from, why they’re visiting, how they found the service, and how you can help them. If they’ve been around for a while, make sure you introduce them to someone else. Helping them to connect with others is just as important as making them feel welcome in the first place.
2. Talk to a small group / bible study member
Try and touch base with a few of the members in your group. How was their week? Did God answer that prayer? How did that date go? Do they need any prayer for anything else?
You don’t have to go deep with each person every week, but catching one or two for a quick conversation can go a long way. Doing this each week should enable you to chat to everyone in your group every few weeks.
3. Talk to your friends
Church isn’t a social club, but we’re naturally going to click with some people more than others. That’s fine! In fact it’s necessary ... church is just as much about giving encouragement to others as it is about receiving encouragement ourselves. We need our friends, so talk to them all you like. Just make sure you don’t do it to the exclusion of everyone else.
It’s important to say that this order won’t be possible every time! If you’re sitting with friends, don’t ignore them until you find a new person. You also don’t need to follow this advice religiously either. It’s more about getting you to think about who you talk to, than it is about getting you to follow the order.
Finally, doing this each week will take time. Rather than ducking off every week before the final song, give yourself half an hour to stay and chat. Church is the gathering of God’s people, not just a spiritual shot in the arm. Who knows, you may even make a few friends in the process.