Great article from one of the Celebrate Recovery directors that applies to all of us wanting to introduce people to God and His people.
We’ve all had that one person on an airplane we don’t want to sit down next to us. You know, that one that looks like they may be too talkative and may keep us from resting on our trip. Then it happens…the person walks right up to your aisle and says, “That’s my seat next to you.” This happened to me in my travels this past week.
When she sat down, she was holding a pillow and appeared to be around 18 or 19 years old. She looked a little distraught as she sat down. She turned to me and in an anxiety filled voice she said, “This is my first time flying. I am very scared!” I did my best to reassure her and make her feel comfortable, but she was still scared and holding her pillow with a tight grip. I asked her if she would mind me praying for her and she reluctantly said, “Yeah, I guess you can pray for me.”
So I prayed for her and moments later the plane began its movement onto the runway. It was at this point she began asking me tons of questions, “Why are we backing up? Why is that yellow cup hanging on a string from the ceiling? How fast are we going? How does the plane get in the air?” And so on and so on. The more questions I answered the more reassured and safe she felt. Later she even shared about the the tumor she had on her brain.
This got me to thinking about how the newcomer in Celebrate Recovery comes into our meetings across the world. They walk into a process that you and I are already comfortable and familiar with. We know when ‘this’ or ‘that’ is going to happen, what happens in small groups?, and so on. Honestly, the newcomer might as well be walking into a foreign country. Everything looks scary.
Much like I had to do with the girl on the plane, we have to do for our newcomers. We have to be willing to provide a safe environment through our interactions. We do this so they can process, ask questions and feel safe.
Once she felt like someone else cared, she relaxed, shared and even fell asleep. I mean a deep sleep. Once she was reassured everything was going to be ok and that she wasn’t alone on the flight, she was filled with peace and reassurance in her ability to get through the flight.
The next time a newcomer walks through your door, maybe consider inviting them to sit with you on the long healing flight ahead. We “get to” answer their questions with great joy as they jump into this new flight called recovery. Every response we give to their anxiety filled questions, will in the end add peace to their heart.
We “get to” ask them, “Have you not heard? Do you not know? Let me tell you about this Everlasting God who will be with you forever.” What a blessing!
Questions to think about:
- How are you making your newcomers feel safe?
- Do you provide an outlet for newcomers to feel comfortable asking questions?
- Do your leaders get into their own circles to talk to each other or are they intentional about seeking out newcomers to make them feel comfortable and welcomed?