Monday, April 24, 2017

Showing Hospitality

You are walking down the corridor of a church on Sunday morning.  A member of the congregation is coming toward you and you see him bend down and pick up a discarded candy wrapper off the floor.  He puts it in his pocket, continues walking toward you and says, “Good morning.”

What’s with this guy?  Is he obsessive-compulsive, a former custodian, or just a neat freak?  In reality, this may be his way of exercising the gift of hospitality. 

When it comes to welcoming guests to the congregation, we usually think about providing a warm greeting, clear directional signs, good childcare, clean restrooms, and convenient parking.  These are all important but the person in our story is sensitive to the little things like a neat building that make people feel comfortable.

This is the same person who will go out of his way to help a newcomer find a seat at worship or give away his worship bulletin to someone who failed to pick one up at the door.  This may not be radical hospitality but it is a good beginning point.

Why does someone do these things?  I think it is because they care about being welcoming.  We can talk about hospitality, train greeters, and make it a staff priority, but hospitality becomes real when each congregant sees it as their responsibility and privilege.

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