Pastoral Ponderings- Greety vs Greedy
We’ve talked a bit in church about the Lighthouse Church designation for Twin Falls, and we had our second training event for that yesterday, but I just realized I’ve not yet shared anything with you from our trainings—not directly at least. You probably HAVE noticed the introductions I’ve been trying to remember, both for myself and for others leading the service—well that’s a part of it. You see, the Lighthouse church thing is really all about ramping up our hospitality, although you’ve been doing that so well, I’d say you’re the most hospitable church I’ve ever served! But we can always improve, especially when it comes to our blind side, our on-line service hospitality.
A couple weeks ago when I was away one Sunday doing my Army training, very shortly after our first Lighthouse training, I had a great living example of this weakness. The other guy I was with and I were so obvious as guests that we stuck out like a sore thumb at the Army chapel service we went to at Ft. Lewis. They had a bunch of “regulars” there, as we usually do too, but though we and perhaps others there were obviously new, the several people leading the service never introduced themselves in the service, so we were left to guess who was who, who even were Chaplains there! And to top it off, only ONE of the 70 or so people there ever spoke to us, though I think one other might have at least acknowledged our existence. They seemed to be a friendly enough service—to each other at least! But they weren’t very hospitable.
It’s distracting, and can be uncomfortable not knowing what’s what and who’s who in a service like this, and it’s not very welcoming. Our regulars with us every Sunday know these details—but hospitality is even more for those who don’t know us. We need to be just as hospitable with introductions and such NEXT week (and every week that follows) as we are THIS week, for those first checking us out on-line, or when we have guests in person (“guests” are expected and desired, visitors- who knows?), it’s important to make those connections.
Two key insights from this week’s training, too—first, is our hospitality GREETY, or GREEDY? As in GREEDY- just to meet OUR needs (we want new people!) or GREETY- genuinely hospitable, focused on THEIR needs, not ours? And secondly, every guest with us has their own “why” to their visit—they never stumble in by accident! So God’s calling on us as the Body of Christ, is to see them as GOD sees them, and to do what we can to meet their needs where they are, not try to make them feed our need.
Hospitality makes you feel like you belong and are wanted—even after just a brief acquaintance. A big smile and laughter go a long way to bring that feeling. We all know ways to truly welcome others—but do we choose to use them with our church guests, or will we just be “friendly” with those we already know?