Wednesday, 10 April 2013

hint #1: cheat on the interview

Here is my first hint on "how to host a missionary at your church".  Your questions and suggestions are welcome!

Interviews are tricky beasts.  They can be a quick and powerful way to get to know someone and to get an idea of the work they do.  Or they can be boring, irrelevant and uninformative.  While masquerading as "informal" and "impromptu" they work best with good preparation.  In other words, cheat!

Here are some hints to make the interview work.

1. Get to know the missionary first.  If you can meet and talk with them prior to the interview that is really helpful. Have a long talk about them and the work they do.  This helps you to know what they do and why they think it is important.

2. Plan and discuss the interview questions together.  If the missionary has served a while already they will have some idea of the questions that get to the important, central issues.  You will know the sorts of things your congregation will find interesting.  Work out the questions together.  Although the interview format is supposed to be casual, this sort of preparation helps rather than hinders.  Unless of course, the missionary proceeds to read their answers.  That sort of gives the game away!  Preparation like this also allows you to work out together who (if there is more than one) will answer each question.  There are times when both can answer and times when one is too exhausted to think straight and just wants to stand there and smile.

3. If it is during church, plan for the interview to take 5-10 minutes.  It is difficult to say much in less than 5 minutes but more than 10 minutes will (usually) have people on edge about how long the service is going to be.  If there is to be a presentation at some other time and the interview is just a "taste" then shorter will work fine.  If this is the only contact the missionary will have with the congregation, then longer is preferable.

4. Don't try to kill two birds with one stone.  i.e. Don't use the missionary interview as a chance to have a gospel presentation for the non-believing visitors who are there for the baptism to be held later in the service.

5. Be flexible about any children in the missionary family.  Some children are capable of standing still and quiet for the whole of an interview.  Some like to race around and others like to pick their noses.  If the parents look like they are leaving the children in the pew, don't pressure them to bring them up the front.  No matter how much the congregation would like to see them, there is probably a reason for it.  It might be helpful to have someone on hand who could sit with the children (especially if young) while their parents are being interviewed.  On the other hand, don't assume their children won't come up; some may even be involved in the interview.  The key is to be flexible and to ask them beforehand what will be most helpful for them.

6. Don't answer your own questions.  Enough said.

7. Pray for them at the end of the interview.  Ask how you can be praying for them as part of the interview (it works well at the end) and then proceed to pray for them.  This is encouraging for them and a model to others.  Perhaps ask someone else to pray, especially if there is someone you know who takes an interest in them and prays for them regularly.  If you do this, that person might like to know in advance what the requests for prayer will be. 

There is probably more that would be helpful, but that's all I can think of for now.

Any questions?

Any suggestions?

Hint #2: give them the microphone


Veronica Box said...

I think I will have to file away these suggestions to use when we are next back in Australia!

Rachael said...

I hope they will be helpful!