I once had to pick up a friend on the way to an event we were both going to attend. When I got to his house, I knocked on the door, he opened it and invited me in. I thanked him but stood in the doorway. The house looked like a disaster and I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk my health by entering.
I might sound like a shallow friend, but the reality is that if an environment feels unwelcoming, or even unsafe no one will feel comfortable. That’s the same case with your gathering space when it comes to your ministry. If you:
DON’T TAKE CARE OF YOUR SPACE PEOPLE WON’T CARE TO ENTER IT
Just because youth ministry is messy doesn’t mean your environments should be anything less than irresistible. Granted you might not have the budget to outfit it with nice furniture or state of the art technology but everyone can:
KEEP IT CLEAN AND SIMPLE
A clean space is one free of clutter. There is no wondering, “What’s the stain over there from and did I sit in it earlier?” A clean and simple space means not stumbling over anything and being able to engage on what’s most important.
USE WHAT THEY HAVE WISELY
I’ve heard a lot of churches exclaim, “WE NEED MORE STORAGE!” the reality is that they need less junk. Everything has its purpose and it also has it’s shelf life. If you are holding onto items, and resources for a period time without using them consider donating it or throwing it away.
TURN ON THE LIGHTS
Your lighting matters. If it’s too dark it can feel impersonal and if the area is too light the room can feel sterile. It’s important to play with the lighting of your space to set a mood where people can feel comfortable.
Invest in a few lamps, play around with the paint color in the room. Adjust the shades or even buy new ones. Use natural and artificial light to your advantage.
BE PREPARED FOR THEIR GUESTS
On top of keeping things clean, it’s important to be ready before the first person arrives for your ministry. That means:
- Making sure all the doors are unlocked.
- All the lights are on in the place.
- Materials, refreshments, and resources are where they are supposed to be.
Having prepared space will disarm any discomfort a person will have. They’ll feel like you are ready for them and that’s affirming that they are in the right place. When you are prepared for the people attending your ministry it communicates, I’m ready to get to know you.
Why do environments matter? They help us engage, relax and focus on what’s most important. When your environments are prepared, clean and engaging it communicates, I’m ready to get to know you.
[reminider] What else goes into creating an engaging and welcoming environment? [/reminder]