Friendliness is not the same as hospitality. Comments like: “we don’t have people in church like we used to” or “there are no children” are reflections of us and how we interact with guests.
“We think we are friendly enough. We often defend our friendliness while ignoring the fact that visitors cannot find a place within our community. In reality, most everything the church does is designed for the benefit and comfort of the members, and we invite new people into what we are already doing for ourselves”. (The Art of Hospitality)
The challenge for those who have been in church for years is to step outside of comfort zones, to separate from friends, to sit with new guests and engage in conversation. To treat guests as you would treat a guest in your home.
Every church member should be responsible for noticing a guest, welcoming a guest and spending at least 3 minutes talking to a guest.
“We say we want to grow and that we want nonreligious and nominally religious people to experience God in our church. But our actions don’t always match our words. We want to grow, but we don’t want to give up our seats. We want to welcome younger people, but we don’t want to change the style or time of worship. Jesus calls us to reach deeper as his ambassadors, to be fishers of people, but a church that is focused on itself begins to lose its potential in the wider community to reach new people.” (The Art of Hospitality)
Moving away from the status quo is necessary for churches to stay current and vibrant. Let’s shake off the dust, remodel our methods, revamp our thinking and be more like Jesus; going into the crowds instead of waiting for them to come to us.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou