Radical Hospitality

“It describes a genuine love for others who are not yet a part of the faith community, an outward focus, a reaching out to those not yet known, a love that motivates church members to openness and adaptability, a willingness to change behaviors in order to accommodate the needs and receive the talents of newcomers.”

During our Advent preaching series, we focused on the five practices from Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, by Robert Schnase, being read by the Executive Council. We tried to give snippets from the book and incorporate scripture into our sermons, to help all of us be more centered in how we might move our church forward.  It also helps us in the discernment process of how we use our remaining Reach and Renew funds over the next five years. 

Because I believe the practice of Radical Hospitality is ‘key’ to our growth and future decisions, I think it is important to share a few more quotes and thoughts from the book. I have listed a few quotes which help to explain the difference between hospitality and Radical Hospitality. The Membership Renewal Group is actively working on Radical Hospitality. But, for successful implementation, ALL of us need to participate. As we read through these quotes, each of us needs to be intentional in using this information to answer the question, what can I do?

“By radical, I don’t mean wild-eyed, out of control, or in your face. I mean people offering the absolute utmost of themselves, their creativity, their abilities, and their energy to offer the gracious invitation and reception of Christ to others.” “Churches marked by this quality work hard to figure out how best to anticipate others’ needs and to make them feel at home in their ministries... Radical Hospitality describes churches that strive without ceasing to exceed expectations to accommodate and include others.”

“To become a vibrant, fruitful, growing congregation requires a change of attitudes, practices, and values. Good intentions are not enough. Too many churches want more young people as long as they act like old people, more newcomers as long as they act like old-timers, more children as long as they are as quiet as adults, more ethnic families as long as they act like the majority in the congregation.”

“People have joined the church because when they first visited and their baby fussed, a woman leaned forward and said, “Don’t worry. That’s the way I feel about this sermon too. But come back, they get better! Then the woman offered to walk the baby in the foyer so the visitors could attend to the sermon.”

“when someone new starts work at the office or someone moves into the neighborhood, in addition to the standard gestures of welcome and support, without feeling self-conscious they say, “And if you’re looking for a church, I’d be happy to tell you about mine. I love it, and it’s meant the world to my family, and we’d love to have you come with us sometime.”

Stay tuned, Radical Hospitality is “on the move” at First Congregational. One of the opportunities to begin to learn about ‘Widening our Welcome,’ is to attend the Gathering sessions offered during Lent. We have wonderful speakers to help us more appropriately approach our brothers and sisters who have challenges we might not understand, or challenges that we experience in our own family. Join us for a good dinner at 5:30pm and then stay for the session from 6:15-7:15pm. And once you are here, choir rehearses at 7:30pm!

February 27 – Welcoming people with cerebral palsy and hearing disabilities, Rev. Jeanne Tyler

March 6 – Welcoming people with mental illness, in its many forms, Dr. Fred Coleman

March 13 – Welcoming people with racial and ethnic differences, Dr. Carl Grant

March 20 – Welcoming people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Joy Schmidt

 

 

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm in Featured Content.

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