Archive for May, 2012

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Hospitality in God’s home…

May 18, 2012

I love Calvary Church. It is a privilege to pastor here and I thank God for the opportunity. Many people have commented to me (and the pastoral staff) about the warm, welcoming atmosphere that Calvary embodies on a Sunday morning.

I wish I could write with integrity that this is everyone’s experience who visits Calvary on a sunday but it is not. Some people feel left out, some people feel alone, some people feel like there are cliques that are impenetrable. Many churches struggle with this problem (I’m sure every social organization does). It’s not always hard to see why. Due to the busyness of life we don’t often see our friends. Sometimes the only chance we have to visit with them is on a Sunday morning so we have a natural proclivity to spend time catching up with them. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. It does, however, cause a problem when new comers feel ignored, overlooked and left out – this actually hurts and hinders the mission of God in our community.

During the Ruth series I spoke about the times where God calls us to be the answer to our own prayers. I told this story:

I remember being at a small group meeting where we were praying about young adults not slipping through the cracks at church. In the middle of my fervent prayer it occurred to me – I’m a young adult. I go to this church. Why don’t I make sure young adults don’t slip through the cracks? All it means practically is that I’m on the look out for new people and when I see a new person I talk to them and introduce them to people.

This church is like our house. Imagine if someone came to your house because you had a sign that said all welcome. They entered into your living room but you didn’t acknowledge their presence. You didn’t talk to them, offer them refreshment or show them warmth in any way. Imagine you were in their shoes – would you come back for a visit? No, of course not. Well, this church is like our house and we are to play the part of hosts by being warm and welcoming. We pray, ‘God make us a warm church’ and God says, ‘you are my church – be warm’.

I’m not asking you to ignore your friends on a sunday morning. But, perhaps, you and your friends could make more friends after the service. You could look out for new people together. Many of us are doing this but what if most of us did this?

I know it’s sometimes uncomfortable to meet new people who are different than us. But I really think we should make a practice of doing things that scare us, or at least push us beyond our comfort zone. That is how we grow in our faith, that is how we make new friends, that is how Gospel centered community is created.

What if over the next couple of months you invited a family you don’t know (a new family) over for dinner, or out for lunch?

What if you made it a goal to talk to 3 people you don’t know every Sunday morning? And if they’re new take the time to introduce them to a few people. What if you reached out to those friends you know who attend Calvary but haven’t been coming to church very often?

If we embraced these small steps, by the grace of God, we would be a warmer church. Let’s work on this together not so that God loves us but because He already does and we want to share that love with others.

Thank you so much for reading!

Love you guys,

Chris