By Scott Rubin
Think of the last time you walked into a place where you were the “New Guy” (or Girl). Some of you might have to think back a few years! I remember my first few days on the job at my church. One of my earliest impressions of this place was of a guy named Dan. And mostly what I remember is…he was nice to me. He didn’t even work in my area, but he helped me figure out “how things worked.” Little things. Things everyone else already knew. He probably didn’t think it was any big deal, but to me it was huge. Nobody likes to be the person who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Did you ever go to a new school? I was the New Guy in 5th grade. I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or where to line up after recess. When I was trying to figure out what was going on, a guy named Aaron showed me around. (He also showed me other stuff that didn’t help me out much in the long run…but that’s a story for another day.)
What about when junior highers walk into your ministry for the first time? Is it possible they could feel that “everyone knows what’s going on except me”? I know our ministry can feel that way sometimes. Think about these simple ways to make your ministry easier for the New Guy or Girl.
Walk into your ministry with New Guy/Girl Lenses. I do this from time to time. As your junior highers are gathering, actually walk out to the parking lot and walk back in…while you imagine yourself as a new student. Is there a sign showing the way to the room? When you walk in the door, would anyone greet you if you were new? Would a new person have any idea what to do once he or she was in the room?
Involve Oldies in Welcoming Newbies. We gathered some of our more extroverted junior highers and gave them a vision for welcoming Newbies. Not just being a “greeter” at the door, but actually sticking with them for the whole time they’re here for the first time-showing them “how stuff works” and introducing them to people. (We call it the SNAP team-short for Showing New People Around. Hey, it’s got all four of the letters, right?)
Help those New Guys and Girls feel at home, and before long they’ll be a regular part of your group…and maybe one day they’ll be showing more new people around!
From Simply Junior High Newsletter May 2007
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