Radical Hospitality

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?

2 thoughts on “Radical Hospitality”

  1. It’s funny how our perception can cause us to react, or not react. I didn’t grow up in Clearfield, but moved here when I was single. In fact, I moved 2 blocks from West Side UMC. I was looking for a church, but this one was so big, and I was intimidated. I looked around for a few years, and then I met Travis. This had been his church home growing up, but he had stopped going long ago. When we decided to spend the rest of our lives together, we both knew Christ needed to be the bond that kept us together. We tried a few churches and ended up at West Side. I remember sitting in the pew, when a little old lady I didn’t know, turned around and stuck her hand out to me. She placed a tissue in my hand and smiled before turning back around. I unwrapped the sweetest little blue glass bird. I now know that that sweet little old lady was Libby Zimmerman, and with that simple gesture, I felt at home. I still have that little bird, over 6 years later. It sits on my window seal at home and when I look at it, I remember that day and that feeling. Thank you Libby…I don’t even think she knows how much that meant. It was like she knew I was afraid and she just reached out her hand. I have come to Love West Side so very much – I’m glad I finally gave it a chance!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing Angie.

    I remember a little after we first moved in there was a boy around 8-10 years of age riding his bike between the church and parsonage and he stopped to talk to Ethan and I. He commented that this is a “scary” building. I’m sure for a child the building can seem overwhelming. For adults, perhaps we think the people will be like the building …

    Thanks goodness for sweet, sweet people who are the hand and welcome of God.


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