Is hospitality a lost art? Has “We’d love to have you come over to our home” been replaced by “Let’s eat out.” Is communicating by e-mail, FB or twitter how we reach out to new people who have visited our new church plant?
Maybe it’s time to connect on a more personal level.
When we were new in the Lord, we had great “zeal without knowledge.”We tried many ways to share what God had done in our lives. Some worked, some didn’t. In addition, we wanted visitors at Church to be encouraged to return, knowing it takes time for the Holy Spirit to work. We wanted new folks to know we cared about them. Jesus had plenty of interaction with people, and we wanted to be like Jesus. So, on Sunday mornings my husband would walk around before the morning service and invite anyone who was new, plus a few established folks, to come over for dessert immediately following the evening service. One night 40ish adults & kids were getting acquainted and eating ice cream all over the house. It was great and God richly blessed those times.
Since then, in our church plants, we have had what we called “Visitor desserts.”
We would have 5-10 new couples, plus some from the core team, over for food & fellowship. The fellowship always included a gathered time for Phil & the elders to share about our new church and allow time for questions the new folks might have. It was amazing to watch how these visitors would gravitate towards each other on Sundays after having shared some “one on one” time in our home. Seeing a familiar face in a crowd always makes you feel more comfortable.
It’s hard visiting a new Church where you know no one and friendships seem cemented. There’s a great little book called, “The Hospitality Commands” by Alexander Strauch. I highly recommend it. It gathers together all the scriptures, plus definite ideas, for a planned approach to go beyond the nice “hello” that many receive on a Sunday morning.
Back then I had no idea how valuable we were to our Pastor. We had no earthly direction, just the “stirring up” of our hearts by God.
We lead by example. As leaders in church planting, how and where are we leading?
May God “stir up” our hearts!