Emotional Intelligence, who knew? Leverage it for Ministry…

When I got my new car, it came with a free trial of SiriusXM radio, and I’ve discovered NPR (National Public Radio). Today I heard Rick Perlstein talk about his new book, The Invisible Bridge which about Nixon and Reagan and “emotional intelligence“. Perlstein said “[Reagan] could take the temperature of an audience. This extraordinary gift of emotional intelligence, was to understand people’s deeper longings [at a level deeper than politics.”].

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic. This got me thinking…

What if ministry leaders all possessed a high EIQ? Could we “perceive” a person’s real reason for returning to church and look beyond the verbal explanation of “I just moved to the area”?  Could we evaluate the emotions of loneliness, desperation, or feelings of unworthiness without them being vocalized?

Do your front-line Door Greeters and Hospitality Team possess any of the Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence?

  • 1. The ability to accurately perceive emotions, understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions. (Question for you: Can your Door Greeters read body language and identify the lone visitor who is scared to come through the door or is unsure if he is welcome here?
  • 2. The ability to use emotions to promote thinking. Emotions allow us to pay attention and react to what we perceive. (Question for you:  Do the Ushers pay attention to the fact that the visitor does NOT want to be ushered to the front row, but is more comfortable hidden in the back row?)
  • 3. The ability to understand emotions.  The emotions we perceive can mean all kinds of different things.  (Question for you: If a coffee drinker grimaces with the first sip, does your coffee server interpret this as being bad-tasting coffee, or could it mean that the drinker just had a root canal yesterday, and his mouth is sore?)
  • 4. The ability to manage emotions: Responding appropriately to what is perceived. (Question for you: The single mother of three enters the church disheveled, uncomfortable and dressed slightly inappropriately for your worship style . Do YOU respond enthusiastically with help, possibly bringing attention to her, ignore her so as to not embarrass her, or meet her in the middle; possibly protecting her from stares or unwelcoming sentiments from others at the church?

I believe that God gave some of us high EIQ (door greeters, coffee servers, Information Desk Volunteers, Ushers, Parking Lot attendants) so that we can use our faith to fill our minds with Godly thoughts and discern the truth behind what we see.  This equips us to be an instrument in carrying out God’s plans.

Remind your front line volunteers that they are important and have been sent to make a difference.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Pray today that God will provide a scenario where EIQ might be a primary factor in a visitor’s decision on whether or not there will be a second visit.  Make a difference, “Here am I. Send me!”

Bev Manson
Blessed with the gift of gab and hospitality, Bev served as a staff member for a fast-growing church  for almost a decade. Discovering her talent for helping people step out of their comfort zone, she began recruiting volunteers to serve in Children’s Ministry.  As the church grew, her focus became the influx of visitors and the need to make sure they didn’t get lost in the growth. For this, she developed a full team of trained volunteers to create the “WOW,  from the Street to the Seat”. Her success with this program lead to speaking engagements at churches across North Georgia, prompting a string of WOW experiences!   Now, as Marketing Manager for Displayit at Church, she loves sharing her tips, tricks and ideas, that can make a real difference.  “We’re all on the same team, the Jesus team.  Let’s work together for the greater good!”

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