At West Side, we have just concluded a three-week study of Radical Hospitality, led by Ken Bodle. The class was approached in such a way as to not make Radical Hospitality a program, but to look at who we are at our core. We recognized that it is Christ who first welcomed us when we were strangers. Now we want to offer that same warm, embracing welcome to others: to strangers, acquaintances, and friends.
When asked to share our inhibitions in offering hospitality, some responded that they felt embarrassed, feared how others would respond to hospitality, even fearing rejection. Some were unsure what to say and feared that questions might be asked that they would not know how to answer. Some are shy and it pushes them outside their comfort zones. There was also fear of further involvement.
These fears and inhibitions can be overcome by practicing hospitality, knowing that it will get easier. Also, by practicing hospitality together with another person, perhaps someone who already has experience and can mentor the other. Also, the knowledge that God chooses to use us. It is God working through us to touch the life of another. Also helpful is recalling how the church is a gift to us, a gift that we want others to experience.
In our closing session, the Scriptures revealed that it was in seeing and hearing Jesus that people responded to him. Others may have invited, but it wasn’t up to them to convince; it was Jesus who impacted them.
We have some further discussion at the end of the 15-week study, but we closed with the admonition to “Be the Change.” Let radical hospitality start with me and with the 20 who gathered together in discussion. That’s how a culture of a group begins to change … with one person being willing to “Be the Change.”
So here we go … Be intentional to being invitational, be committed to developing relationships with others, and let’s hold each other accountable to living out Radical Hospitality!