A couple months ago, one of the greeters from the Hospitality ministry joyfully stopped me as I was walking toward the sanctuary. Then she asked me, pointing toward the crowd in the Welcome Center, “Look, what do you see?” I replied, “Well, I see the people talking to one another gladly.” Then she said, “That’s my point!” Her eyes were almost in tears as she expressed her joy in seeing a “warm atmosphere” as people were laughing, welcoming, greeting, introducing each other, and sharing brief life stories with one another before or after worship services. Surely it was good to sense the welcoming spirit as we enjoyed friendship and fellowship.
At the same time, the Welcome Center can be one of the most intimidating places for some people, including visitors. When we, insiders, do not intentionally invite others into our circles of conversation or look for unfamiliar faces, it’s common to miss the opportunity. In addition, it is not easy for visitors to find the Welcome Center if they want to have a cup of coffee; however, we can extend the spirit of welcome if we continue to think creatively.
A study has shown that when people do not find friends in the church, they will likely go elsewhere; but, when they find a group of caring friends, they will stay and grow in maturity in Christ Jesus. I pray that we, Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, will continue to pursue hospitality to all people, so that we can become mature Christians together in the coming year. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrew 13:2). In order to become more hospitable, let’s take the Welcome Center and “make it move”!
As we catch the spirit of radical hospitality, we become a “mobile Welcome Center” by taking action and inviting others to sit with us in our pews. We become Sanctuary Ambassadors for Christ as we relate to people.
Are you new to the church and looking for a place to belong and grow together for the coming year? Would you like to meet new people and welcome all people by joining our hospitality team?
Please contact me, SueLee Jin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Donna Dautermann at email@example.com or call the church office.
Have a blessed New Year!