What is the real secret to making a good first impression? I guess we should first ask, “Do I care about making a good first impression?” As a child of God, an ambassador of his kingdom, I should care; right? How do I want to come across when meeting people for the first time? Since I belong to God, I want to bring him glory; to make him attractive to others; to hopefully draw them to him.
So, does the bible speak to this concept of Christians making a good first impression? There is a fascinating exchange between the Apostle Paul and the church in Thessalonica. The back story is in Acts 17:1-4, “When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.”
This was Paul’s initial visit to Thessalonica. He made an effective first impression because within just three weeks a healthy new church was established. To see Paul’s “secret” take a look at his first letter to that church (1 Thess 2:1-12). Paul’s strategy is brilliant and it works when it comes from a sincere heart. You cannot fake sincerity.
“You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure…with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men, but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We LOVED YOU SO MUCH that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God BUT OUR LIVES AS WELL because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember our toil and hardship, we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”