Had a great time at the mall recently. The wife gave me a dollar to spend in the arcade. Skeeball is certainly in heaven. And, in total abandonment of my normal aversion to sugar, I and my wife indulged in a chocolate chip double doozie at Great American Cookies.
Now I have very good peripheral vision. It’s a helpful quality for a pastor to have. As we sat at a nearby table, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the manager of the cookie store was watching us. He wanted to make sure we found great satisfaction in our heavenly delight (sugar items are heavenly because they help get you there quicker).
The guy had a smile on his face as he looked at us. His job was complete. His task was not just to sell us something. His mission was to provide joy to his customers. Now that is good hospitality. I want to translate that type of mission and expectation to church.
Do the gathered followers of Jesus look beyond themselves to see if the experience of personal encounters brings blessing to those around them? If I were a guest in your church, would I see people, out of the corner of my eye, who were watching me to make sure I found delight and joy?
In my own congregation, our culture went from one that had a consumer mentality of looking for personal benefit to one where by the third time people attend, they have transformed from guest into host. The Bible is filled with references to how vitally God feels about hospitality. Let’s make sure our congregations match that Godly desire.
How did our congregation make such a dramatic transformation? We trained people in formal settings. We used the hospitality resources that The Effective Church has available. Perhaps they could be useful for your own congregational journey. It takes intentional effort with reminders in all aspects of church communication, not the least of which in sermons.
The world sees church as a bunch of hypocrites. A group of Jesus followers who are committed to Biblical hospitality will go a long way to erasing that perception.