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« Clergy Satisfaction | Main | The Age of the Abundant Church »

April 22, 2007

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Ed Brenegar

What leaders must do in any organizations, and pastors of churches are no different in this regard, is to foster an environment of welcome through the membership. One person can't do it. So it really is an attitude that becomes the culture of the organization.
In the church, hospitality is a value that is appreciated. But it isn't a value that has great clarity about how to act it out. This is the challenge in the church. We believe a lot of our ideas that don't have a clear action component. As a result, we don't see these values in their full reality or actual benefit.
It does start with the leadership, but it can remain there. Your example is a great one, and one probably worthy of a sermon. Thanks for your thoughts.

DennisS

That does seem rather expensive, and I've got so many books I haven't read. Before being destracted by something else, I've read part way through "Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition" by Christine Pohl. I attended a seminar she did, and as a result, I make sure to always include the written words to the Lord's Prayer, Gloria Patri, and Doxology in the Bulletins - not just assume that everyone there will know the words.

Before seminary, I used to always watch for visitors at worship services. I would break away from those I knew, in order to meet someone I didn't know. I always tried to introduce them to someone else. For instance, if I found out they loved golf, I would introduce them to another avid golfer in the congregation.

At one point it was said that I was the first one that the majority of the congregation had met in that congregation. In other words, they apparently felt enough connection (including worship, the pastor, myself, and others) to continue worshipping there.

It's tough for a pastor, who is often stationed in one spot after worship, to strike up conversations with visitors. We really need for lay persons to take up this ministry of hostmanship.

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