I spend a lot of time reading blogs. I read technology, motorcycles, home improvement, photography to name a few topics I enjoy following. As you might suspect I also read a lot of social media, discipleship, and church growth blogs as well. I recently read an interesting article by Ron Edmondson, entitled "7 Easy Ways to Put a Not Welcome Sign on Your Church" I am sure you will enjoy reading the short little article.
Edmondson list I think points to some issues we have to be on guard against at our church.
Only do “church” on Sunday. Don’t act like you’re happy to see people. Confuse people. Make it uncomfortable for visitors. Have your own language. Have closed groups. Beat people up without giving them hope.
As I look over the list, each of the items seem to deal with some aspect of basic Christ like hospitality. The list would encourage us to be available, friendly, clear, comfortable, easy to understand, open and encouraging to our guests and community. To reach beyond our established routines, circles of friends and familiar paths.
I am reminded of Luke 14:7-14, where Jesus teaches on the subject of humility. Edmondson's list draws my attention to verses 12-14, a passage often sited as the "Guest Parable."
Luke 14:12He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your •brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. 13On the contrary, when you host a banquet,o invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind.p 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”(HCSB)
This parable calls us to expand our circle of invitation beyond the expected to those that would benefit from our invitation and who have nothing to reciprocate. Thus being blessed and repaid at the resurrection.
it is Christ's call to extend true hospitality beyond our normal circle, to those very much in need of something we can offer. Offering our hospitality in the name of Christ, with our expectation of reciprocation. Anticipating on the blessing of "well done my good and faithful servants."
Just something to think about as we seek live out the red letters.