Creating Ties with Your Community
I visited my bank last fall to take care of a business transaction. After explaining what I needed, I was introduced to the new branch manager. I decided that as he was asking questions to get acquainted with me, I would do the same to get acquainted with him. He learned I was going on a mission trip, and I learned that he felt he could never do that, even though he and his wife were active in their church. I also learned that he had a daughter who was struggling with some concerns.
After he had finished taking care of my business, I felt strongly impressed that I should ask him if I could pray for him. However, his office was completely open to the view of the entire bank. I wasn’t sure I wanted to offer the prayer and didn’t know if he would want to be in view of everyone else in the bank lobby. Yet I sensed deeply the prompting of the Holy Spirit and so I asked him, “Would it be alright if I offered a prayer for you?” He jumped up out of his chair and then quickly walked around his desk to the other side where I was sitting. When I saw him get up, I quickly stood as well, not knowing what to expect. But when he held out both of his hands to take mine, I knew he was ready to pray! So I prayed that God would bless him in his new assignment as branch manager. I prayed for his family and especially for his daughter. When I finished praying and opened my eyes, I saw he was full of emotion with tears in his eyes. A connection was made and sealed with a prayer.
Several months later, I had to make a follow up visit to my bank and again had opportunity to visit with my new-found friend. When my business was completed, I once again offered to pray for him, and once again he sprung to his feet. This time I knew what to expect, so when he came quickly around his large desk I stood to my feet and was ready to take his hands as he extended them to me.
Connecting with the community and establishing a relationship is essential. No college coursework or degree is required. All that is necessary is allowing oneself to be led of the Spirit with holy boldness and taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Can you be friendly? Can you show kindness and genuine interest in another person? If you can associate with people in ways that their needs are met, prejudice is destroyed, confidence is established, and friendships are created; then, God can use you to connect with others for the sake of His kingdom.