Schnase defines Christian hospitality as “the active desire to invite, welcome, receive, and care for those who are strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover for themselves the unending richness of life in Christ.”
It is active: that means we have to do something! It is offered to strangers, those we don’t know, those who may look different from you. Hospitality breaks down cultural barriers and nurtures a sense of equality. Hospitality in inviting, welcoming, receiving and caring: sees a need and meets it, is generous, going the extra mile, goes beyond a simple “Hello” to making someone feel at home. Lastly, we have found a “home” at West Side. We have found love and acceptance and freedom in Jesus Christ. We now offer that same gift to others.
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15.7).
Questions for reflection and comment.
- What do you love about West Side? Why have you chosen to make it your spiritual home? If you were not “born into” the congregation, what was it like the very first time you attended?
- Have you ever invited someone who is not a part of a congregation to a service, ministry, or activity of West Side? If so, how did it feel? If not, what has restrained you?
- What are two or three behaviors that each of us at West Side could practice that would shape the culture of our congregation toward a hospitality that exceeds expectations?