Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Radical Hospitality

We give credit to Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Missouri Conference of the UMC. He wrote the teaching series, "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations." 

Question for thought:  How do we welcome people?

1. We want newcomers to feel:
    a. We really care about them.
    b. We have something great and want to share it with them.
    c. We are interested in them.
    d. We see them as future friends, not a project.
    e. We are inviting them into the body of Christ
    f. They matter to us because they matter to God.

2. Radical, meaning "Drastically different from ordinary practice, outside the norm."

3. What do people see that congregations offer:
    a. People need to know that God loves them, that they are of supreme value, and that their life has significance.
    b, People need to know that they are not alone; that when they face life's difficulties, they are surrounded by a community of grace,  and that they do not have to figure out entirely for themselves how to COPE with family tensions, self-doubts,  periods of despair, economic reversal, and the temptations that hurt themselves or others.
    c. People need to know the peace that runs deeper than an absence of conflict, the hope that sustains them even through the most painful periods of grief, the sense of belonging that blesses them and stretches them and lifts them out of their own preoccupations.
    d. People need to learn how to offer and accept forgiveness and how to serve and be served. As a school for love, the church becomes a congregation where people learn from one another HOW to love.
    e. People need to know that life is not having something to live on but something to live for, that life comes not from oneself but by giving of oneself.
    f. People need a sustaining sense of Purpose. The last thing people want is to be TOLD by someone else what they need!!!!! Inviting people into Christ does not involve pounding people with "oughts" and "shoulds."

4. Churches aspiring to Radical Hospitality must regularly ask themselves:
    a. How are we doing at inviting guests and at teaching people to invite others?
    b. How are we at genuinely and authentically Welcoming people?
    c. How are we doing at helping people find their way into our church family?
    d. How are we doing to help people who are unfamiliar with us to feel at home?
    e. How can we do better?

The lesson was taught at First Baptist Church of Newport News by Pastor Dale Seley on February 16, 2011.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this study series and would love to follow the next one. I really miss being with my First Baptist Family on Wednesday night. Having you as my friend helps to lessen the loss.Thanks Barbara. Please let Pastor Dale know that I still appreciate his teachings.

    Agape, Cresenti.

  2. Thank you for your comments. I will convey your message to Pastor Dale.