People Are Leaving the Church – Part Twenty-four
Let’s see how we would describe and thus recognize “Radical Hospitality.” It looks like this:
1> Authentically welcoming others and being glad to be with them.
It is a genuine part of someone’s personality – something that flows naturally. It can be an outlook on life and other people that comes naturally to a person or, as with many introverts, it can be a learned behaviour. Either way, we are glad to meet new people and are seriously and personally interested in them as a person and in the story of their life journey to this point in time.
We welcome them into the discussion and the relationships that already exist. We include them in the on-going conversation. We genuinely want to hear their opinion and their thoughts on the matter being disced – even if they are non-Christian, not biblical, and contrary to everything that we believe and hold to be the truth. instead of being repulsed by someone with a different point of view, we relish the time with them and allow them to see believers in a loiving, nonjudgmental light. This will hopefully be an open door to eventual friendship and deeper conversations about Jesus.
2> Caring curiosity.
The saying goes, “To be interesting, you need to be interested.” When you notice someone and are really interested in connecting, that person knows it. Your conversation revolves around the other person rather than you. Your conversation isn’t awkward or pushy. It’s unscripted love. People can tell when you are genuinely interested and daringly curious.
3> Being a friend even though it is not your ‘job.’
Too many churches has systematized hospitality by creating jobs for greeter and helpful parking lot attendants. It’s their task to make a good first impression so visitors will feel good about the church. That’s all great. But here is the surprise: The most important 10 minutes at church happens AFTER the church service when it’s nobody’s “official duty” to be friendly, according to Gary Macintosh and Charles Arn in their book “What Every Pastor Should Know.”
People know when someone is sincerely interested in them. When the people leave right after service and conversation does not continue for a while after the ‘official event’ has ended then we negate the above three items. It is important that after the event has officially ended that people feel free to hang around, have a cup of post-service freshly made coffee. When people linger and just chat then we show that we are practicing RADICAL HOSPITALITY. So, arrange an “AfterWords” conversation time where people are free to stay and linger should they wish to, and where people can follow up on conversations sparked earlier and talk about what is important to them.
More on radical hospitality next time….