Love Includes Hospitality
Do you go where people are to build relationships?
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
How welcoming are you in your home and at your church?
When I played professional soccer in Africa, I was inspired by the generosity and hospitality of the people in Zimbabwe. Their warmth left a lasting impression, and as I returned to America, this became a key part of my walk with God that I wanted to strengthen. How welcoming are you both in your home and at your church? Jesus commands His followers to love our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37). What does it look like to create a culture that honors God and connects well with people?
Local Outreach: Go Where the People Are.
Churches need to move beyond the four walls of their building with service and compassion. Jesus went to where people were and built relationships. You can bring a sense of hospitality where you live, work, learn, and play. Being hospitable is more about your heart than your location. Generosity is an expression of love and points people to Jesus. At our church, we have drive-thru prayer in our parking lot on Friday nights. People from our community drive their cars on our campus and pour out their hearts as they share their stories. We also have service projects as we collaborate with other churches. We host other events where we give away supplies and resources. When you begin to meet the needs of people in your neighborhood, the word will spread and you will be known as a group of people who carry the hope and grace of God.
Digital Outreach: People are Looking for Jesus.
Ministry today is both online and on campus. The first impression people have of your church is established before they physically attend a service. The lobby, for many ministries, has become the church website, social media, and the live streaming of services. These are excellent and significant opportunities to communicate in a welcoming way. Posting pictures and videos can reach people in your city who have never heard of your church. You can lead people from viewing content, to engaging in conversation, and then connecting on campus. It’s important to respond to questions and comments that are posted. You can also utilize YouTube and other online platforms. Our church is reaching millions of people, locally and globally, as the pandemic has accelerated digital outreach (Acts 1:8). People are very interested in Jesus!
God has not called you to be comfortable; He wants you to become more like Jesus.
You are blessed to be a blessing (Psalm 67). The acronym BLESS (begin with prayer, listen, eat together, serve, share) has given people in our church specific direction, actions, and daily purpose. Who can you bless today? When you meet new people on Sunday morning, you are setting the tone for relationships at your church. Many people are passive and remain in their comfort zone because they are not an official usher or greeter. This is an unhealthy pattern. When you take initiative, even though it is not your designated role, it catches people's attention. They know you are genuinely caring, and it is appreciated. Relationships are always a risk. I am not saying that being hospitable is easy, but it is worth it! God has not called you to be comfortable, He wants you to become more like Jesus. You can intentionally build friendships with people from other cultures, nationalities, and generations. Opening up your home and inviting people over for a meal is very meaningful.
Be a Jesus Ambassador.
This article is written to give you a fresh vision of hospitality. It begins as you go into the community as a Jesus ambassador and culture changer (2 Corinthians 5:20). Then, you can connect with people online and bring the love of God in those spaces. When a guest arrives at your church, it is important to have teams who are welcoming guests and also unofficial greeters who are moved by the Holy Spirit to take relational risks as they start conversations and provide information. Listening well to people is a vital aspect of being hospitable. Avoid being awkward and pushy. God will bring people into your church for you to invite to your home for a meal or to join your Bible study group. Hospitality is holistic, and you will feel energized as you see lives transformed. There are no limits to what God can do through you when you make yourself available!
Used with permission by Global Media Outreach from Jesse Bradley.
Pray this week:
Father in heaven, please help me to make the most of every opportunity to help others know You.
What else can you do to connect with people?
Connect with a caring volunteer to learn more.