On Being Hospitable

I’m reading Robert Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. The five practices are:

  1. Radical Hospitality
  2. Passionate Worship
  3. Intentional Faith Development
  4. Risk-taking Mission and Service
  5. Extravagant Generosity

In Chapter 1 Schnase grounds the radical hospitality of Christians in Deuteronomy 10:19. “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (NRSV)  About this, Schnase continues:

We, too, were once strangers to the faith, residing outside the community where we now find rich resources of meaning, grace, hope, friendship, and service.

I couldn’t agree more.  Some of the difficulty today is, however, like the people of Israel down through the generations, we have many church members who do not themselves remember ever having been “strangers to the faith.”

How do we, as leaders in the church, lead the people of God into a constant awareness of having once been outsiders?

Bishop Schnase suggested his blog about mystery visitors.  Here is the link to that post.

3 thoughts on “On Being Hospitable

  1. Great question! There are many answers to learn….but here are a few that come to mind to me. First, encourage our people to visit other churches to see how they feel. Second, learn from those who are knew to our church how it felt to come here. What were the helps and what were the obstacles? And for the really innovative, there is the option mentioned in my blog this week about Mystery Visitors at FivePractices.org.
    Mainly, I’m glad you are asking the right questions. Keep up the good work. I hope you get many other possible suggestions. Belssings to you in your ministry. R Schnase

  2. Wow – a bishop reading a blog!

    One thing we do is to remember that newcomers tend to have the most connections with outsiders (and minimal connections with insiders). If we can make the value of connecting (or staying connected) with outsiders part of the assimilation process, it’ll be a step forward.

    Once hindrance is that so many of our churches work in fear/survival mode. We’re more interested in making the new people like us so they can do what we do so we can retire or slow down, than we are in taking advantage of their natural strength at connecting with outsiders.

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