I don’t know about you, but I love having guests to my home for dinner. It is great to get to know someone at a deeper level, share a few stories, laugh together, just do life together. When we do have folks over, we prepare. We pick up the clutter, clean the house, set the table and try to prepare a nice meal. And when guests are in our home, we try to be great hosts. We do all we can to help them feel comfortable and welcome.
Over the next couple of weeks we are going to have many guests in our home. I don’t mean Nicole and me. I mean our church. Between now and Easter we are all working hard to invite family and friends to join us for worship. So I have no doubt that we will have many guests in our home. Whether it is in our home or in our church, when guests are with us, we want to do all we can to help them feel comfortable and welcomed. We call this hospitality.
You may have heard the Spanish expression “mi casa es tu casa.” My house is your house. This saying is at the very heart of what we mean when we speak of showing hospitality. Our hope is that guests would feel so “at home” that they would be drawn to make the Rock their spiritual home.
Here at Rock Church we have a hospitality ministry. We have people who give their time to be a part of the intentional welcome as an usher, greeter, lobby host, parking attendant, coffee maker, etc. But I want to remind us today that we are actually all a part of the Hospitality Team. Every one of us helps to create a welcoming environment for our guests. So this week in particular, I want to ask all of us to be intentional about our welcome.
Here are some important and easy ways we can do that.
· One of the first and most effective things we can do is to take the first 5 minutes when we arrive at church and the first 5 minutes after the service ends to seek out one or two people we don’t know to help them feel welcomed.
· Look for individuals or families that seem to be alone. If you are observant, you will sometimes notice in the lobby a person or family who seem to be by themselves. When you see this, graciously break away from your current conversation to greet them. This is a great practice whether that person is a first time guest or not.
· When you do greet a guest, don’t ask “are you new here?” They may just attend a different service. Instead, try “I’m not sure we’ve met. I’m Steve” as you extend a hand.
· After you have visited for a moment, introduce them to someone else. It would be great if they could connect to several people during their time with us.
· When you sit down before worship begins, if there is anyone within 10 feet of you who you do not yet know, take a moment before or right after worship to introduce yourself.
So over the next couple of weeks in particular, let’s all be part of the hospitality team. If every one of us will seize the opportunity to make others feel welcomed and cared about, we will create a loving environment where guests can not only connect to the church, but find Christ. Remember, everyone needs Jesus.
BTW, can can still use a few team members to assist with parking at our Plaistow location. If you would like to help with that, please email Vic.