Hospitality has many forms…

…and one of those, I believe, is mindfulness.  In particular I want to highlight how being intentional and caring are acts of hospitality to ourselves,  to others, and within our congregations.

On Being has a wonderful interview today about mindfulness and care.  I noticed this:

“Type out your email. Then stop, take three deep breaths, follow your breath in and out, and in and out, and in and out. Then read the email. Read it from the perspective of the person who is going to receive it. Think about it from that person’s perspective and then either change it or not and then send.”

I use email a lot.  I love the written word and as an introvert it lets me process and shape my thoughts in a way that verbal communication often does not.  It became doubly important to me in my work in the church because I quickly came to see email as an act of care and hospitality.  It was especially important in my communication  – in the moment or later – with visitors and new members in our congregation.

Showing care in email is extending Christ’s hand of love to others.  When we do this, we focus beyond ourselves.

Practicing intentionality and care in our communication, can spill over to other aspects of hospitality and evangelism in our congregations. What if you were intentional about speaking to people at church that you don’t know?  Intentionally welcoming children, teens, and young adults?  Sharing social media posts from your church with others? Making sure your church has signs that help people find their way around the building?

 


“There are no signs in your church that direct visitors to the sanctuary, nursery, or bathrooms,” I commented at a evangelism workshop. “Why do we need those?” a woman replied.  “We know where they are.”


Congregations that don’t practice hospitality in all its forms are ones that are focused inward.  And they don’t grow.  Churches can no longer expect to grow by hoping enough people will wander in the door to help them keep the doors open.  Churches grow because they focus outward and extend Christ’s hands of love and hospitality to all whom they encounter in all forms of communication and interaction.


A wise friend said:

People used to come to church seeking God.  And along the way they found community.

Now people come to church seeking community.  And along the way they find God.


How are YOU and your church offering hospitality and community? And along the way helping people to find God?

Carolyn M. Chilton

carolynchilton@episcopalevangelist.com

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