Practice Hospitality With Whom

Paul bids the Romans to “practice hospitality.” There is a nuance to that statement that I had never been aware of before today. The term specifically references the warm welcome that is extended to a stranger, someone who doesn’t belong to the family. And with that nuance, I believe it presents something more than a cup of coffee or punch in an after worship social environment.         Hospitality is what we do to make guests welcomed.
Many churches don’t do hospitality – for what they would call hospitality only serves to make those who   belong welcome.  Surprisingly, some churches are infamous for choosing to ignore their guests.
Yet, week after week, we hear from guests that FCC Chicago is a welcoming and friendly place. Our guests  express to us that our church family does a tremendous job of making them feel like they belong by greeting them and engaging them in conversation, and inviting them to Connection Groups.  All of that is hospitality! And we are doing a good job at it.
Now, let me ask that you go the next step. We do a tremendous job of demonstrating hospitality to guests within the church building. What if we extended hospitality beyond the church walls to those guests?
  • What if we exchanged phone numbers with those guests, and made a call to them during the week to share that we were glad to meet them?
  • What if we invited them out to eat with us on Sunday following Connection Groups, and take the chance to get to know their story?
  • What if we planned to meet them during the week for a cup of coffee?
  • What if we invited them to our homes for dinner, and a chance to play some games with the family?

Can we choose to do that? What difference do you think such actions would make in helping people to connect with the church, see the church as a community of grace, and feel further loved by the church? Let’s not just practice hospitality. Let’s perfect it.

— Pastor Steve