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Hospitality

The Test

What is the level of hospitality that you offer? Do you understand what it is and how it affects how others perceive you as Christ’s body upon this earth? It’s very easy to test a church or its fellowship regarding its hospitality, their thoughts and actions for others. You discover that the majority of their time they are obsessed with themselves and what they like rather than those whom they have come to serve, let’s look at some examples:

 

1. If a visiting preacher or speaker is invited are they then given refreshment, not that dusty glass of water or the decanter which was last filled ten weeks ago? - Was the glass washed properly or is just swilled with cold water? The answers to these questions  demonstrates your behaviour and the value they place upon the Word and the honor they pay to those bringing it.

2. When a function is organized what does the church provide within its beverage package?

         o Tea

         o Coffee

         o Bottled water; or fruit juice

You will find by and large that those who serve within a church who are proud of their tradition, i.e., most churches before the 1990's will be hospitable to themselves and they will provide what they like, i.e., tea and coffee and they will give no thought to what others may prefer to drink or what the modern world is moving towards. The tea and coffee they bring will not be quality but the cheapest form, rather than provide for guests they will give what they are comfortable with. The rise of the modern coffee shop has moved people's taste forward; the Church tries it best to move them back. They have forgotten that not everyone drinks tea and coffee, on the rare occasions when they do you might get some warm squash. When preparing squash or water ensure its refrigerated.

3. If your church provides a platform for an event does it give food and refreshment for those who attend? Larger churches of course cannot do this for free, but do they then provide for the purchase of fresh and wholesome food or just biscuits and stale ones at that?

Why not partner with your local coffee shop? Why not offer something different to those who attend so they have an experience of blessing for the church they are attending?

Example of selfish hospitality -

A function was held at a local church, the normal tea and coffee was dished up poorly created using cheap tea bags, stale water and cheap coffee. No thought was given that someone might not drink tea or coffee or prefer a more delicate flavor. The author of this article placed some fizzy drinks and bottled water within the serving area. When those who came to serve the beverages saw the additional items, they did not know what they should do with the items. They moved them away from the serving area and never offered them as an alternative to those who came. At the end of the function, all the water and fizzy drinks had gone, however, plenty of tea and coffee remained. Those who attended found the initiative to ask for the alternative. The church and those who served did not learn from this experience and they thought offering something different was an inconvenience and disruptive and the selfish attitude regarding hospitality continues to this day. If you try to discuss this with many within the church, they get hostile and defensive instead of looking at what they do and how they could excel at it.

 

 

Being a Good Neighbour

Is your church a good neighbour? The majority of churches exist within residential areas and if they do not have dedicated parking this can cause issues and problems for those who live next door to the church: -

 

On Sunday's and other special events those attending will park taking up the slots allocated for residents. This means those who live near the church are inconvenienced and will eventually resent those who attend the church because they are taking up their parking places. How can you be a good neighbour here are some suggestions which may help:

 

1. Invite those who live locally to the event or Sunday service

 

2. Spoil them at least once or twice a year. At Christmas provide them with a card, try and discover their name so that the card is individual and include a box of chocolates, not cheap ones as this will cause greater offence, then repeat the process for Easter and include a message in the card such as:

 

"We are sorry if we cause you parking issues on Sunday's and other special event days. We pray that this small gift will go some way to recompense you for the inconvenience caused."

 

3. Purchase, if at all possible, your supplies from local firms, a church within its local community should be supporting it. While it is very easy to purchase items from supermarkets, if you have a local store then support them. It may cost a little more but what is the cost of a local business shutting down? It also shows that the local church cares for its community services.

 

4. Support local charities and activities, do not be seduced by the large charity which demands greater funds, you could be the blessing that a local charity or event is looking for.

 

5. Do you charge for your premises the same for local people and and organisations as those who come far, why not have a different rate?

 

 

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