Modern-day technology has changed the way the world communicates and connects. While social media, text messages and email have become some of the most convenient and popular choices to relay information, it is important not to downplay the value of a face-to-face greeting.
In 2 John verse 12, John writes to “the lady and her children,” “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
John knew his words of encouragement for the believers were limited by his pen and he desired to meet with them directly. Like John, you may be in a situation that prevents you from being able to greet your guests in person but here are five reasons you should make face-to-face greetings a priority if you are able to so.
1. Confirm instructions
It is easy to misunderstand or misread a text message, email, and sometimes even a phone call. Feelings can be misconstrued or twisted due to lack of eye contact, body language, gesture, or tone of voice. A face-to-face greeting allows cabin owners and church leaders the opportunity to confirm their procedures with guests and clarify any contention points or embarrassing “voice to text” disasters.
2. Offer Encouragement
Greeting guests face-to-face helps cabin owners familiarize themselves with the needs and dynamic of the group staying in their cabin. Does the group have specific goals they want to accomplish during their time at camp? Knowing the purpose of the guests’ stay gives cabin owners the opportunity to encourage and pray over the group in person, which can set the entire tone of their stay. Christ followers should always be looking for ways to encourage fellow believers. In fact, Hebrews 10:24 states, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
3. Check Details
Arriving early to greet guests gives cabin owners time to complete a final walkthrough of their space. Is there trash that needs to be picked up? Are the toilets flushed? Nothing says “Welcome to our cabin” like a can of old trash or pile of dead bugs. If you know your group is checking in late, you may turn the lights on for them so they are not fumbling around in the dark. If it’s a typical Oklahoma summer day with a humidity index of what feels like a million, you may want to cool the cabin before a group’s arrival. Ensuring the little details are taken care of before guests arrive lets them focus on the purpose of their visit rather than being distracted by uncleanliness or dysfunctional equipment.
4. Share smiles
A smile can be so refreshing after a long day. There are hours of work that go into planning a retreat, so the chances are the group leader is already exhausted before they arrive at camp. Welcoming eyes and a genuine smile say, “I respect you and I am glad that you are here.” A simple gesture speaks louder than a general welcome or thank you email. In fact, a friendly facial expression can go so far as to “make the heart rejoice.” Proverbs 15:30 says, “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.”
5. Grow your network
When guests and cabin owners are able to put a name with a face, they are more likely to remember each other. You never know who you’ll meet through networking in person. Need a volunteer plumber or electrician to finish some work on the cabin? Searching for a summer youth intern? You may just find one or gain vital connections through your cabin guests. God has a way of bringing people together to accomplish His kingdom work and unplanned introductions are often the best ones.
No matter what form of communication is used to connect with guests, God gives pretty clear guidelines for our interactions: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:16).”