Embracing People - More Than a Smile
Hello church family and blessings, hope this post finds you well. Wanted to take a moment and share something the Father has been sharing with the Family First leadership team. The topic is assimilation/hospitality.
Hebrews 13:2 - Do not neglect to extend hospitality to
strangers [especially among the family of believers—being
friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your
home and doing your part generously], for by this some
have entertained angels without knowing it.
Several years ago, when a first-time guest drove onto our campus, they decided within 12 minutes whether or not they would come back. That number is now 11 minutes. Thank you, attention span. Surprisingly, the decision on whether to return or not begins way before our guest’s experience worship or the sermon- the two elements that demand most, if not all, of our time and attention. This is where you the corporate Family First family comes in. What would it look like if we extended the same level of attention to the 11 minutes prior to walking in the sanctuary or worship center? What might the impact be? What would it look like if we made it a family (full body) affair?
Let’s consider, "What does it feel like to be our guest?" With having five kids, I can’t help but think of the “Beauty and the Beast, Be Our Guest” song. Singing it in my head as I write. It's hard to overstate the wow factor a church body creates by serving generously through a system of intentional hospitality. Our guest are from all walks of life, come with a variable of personal and church expectations. And though we might not notice, we have more guests in one year than we think. According to research, five to eight percent of our worshiping community/congregation will self-identify as guests. Therefore, the number of guests in one year according to statistics [Avg. weekly attendance (160) x (5%) x (52)] could be almost 416. WHAT? If those statistics are even half right, that’s a 100% growth according to our current attendance in one year. What would the kingdom look like then…WOW!
The Greek word for hospitality is “philoxenia”,
which literally means to "love strangers"
Romans 12:13 -contributing to the needs of
God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.
In order to sustain a culture of hospitality, here are Seven Points (Pastor likes points, especially when there is seven) as we approach our next Sunday experience. Consider these points as we honor our guest and grow the kingdom.
- Our guests represent step one of accomplishing the Great Commission – these are the people coming to us!
- A guest who is attending may represent years of prayer, service and invitations by a church member.
- Many of our guests are going through situations that make them more responsive to God and more vulnerable to a lack of hospitality.
- Our guests are assessing very quickly whether or not they are coming back. This happens. As mentioned, in the first 11 minutes.
- Studies show that guests will talk about their initial experiences 8-15 times with other people. If we serve our guest with honor, we multiply our message.
- Hospitality is an investment into every ministry our church offers.
- We are commanded in scripture to be hospitable. The Greek word philoxenia literally means to "love strangers".
Sunday Challenge: Intentionally greet two individuals you have never greeted before.
Focused on the Mission,
Assistant Pastor Omar De Pablo