Thoughts on hospitality

Rev. Meg Witmer-Faile, Associate Director at the Smith Center for Evangelism and Church Growth, recently shared some thoughts on hospitality:

In Clip In: Risking Hospitality in your Church, Jim Ozier and Fiona Haworth offer an important and timely reminder of what we all probably have heard many times. We each recognize that hospitality in our churches is more than being friendly and offering first-time guests a welcome gift. It is a way of being and living that has been modeled for us for thousands of years-from Abraham to Jesus to today, a culture of hospitality. Ozier and Haworth suggest that our churches need to develop such a culture of hospitality. They propose that a culture of hospitality has five key components: intentionality, relationship, interaction, engagement, and connection. Using the image of the bicycle, here’s their introduction:

“While bicycles have been improved, tricked up, and streamlined over the years, there are basically five components to this timeless machine. For our purposes each corresponds to one of the key components of hospitality :

  • Frame—structure that supports everything else (intentionality) 
  • Wheels—what enable the bike to go (relationship) 
  • Handlebars—what set direction plus gyroscopic force for balance (interaction) 
  • Seat—center of gravity and where the rider sits to engage the bike (engagement) 
  • Pedals—what produces the forward thrust for momentum (connection) 

Riding a bike is a matter of gaining balance and momentum. So is creating a culture of hospitality. Not only do balance and momentum go hand in hand, but they are also dependent upon each other. Growing a church requires the same kind of delicate interplay: balancing attention toward existing members and generating momentum by reaching new people. Without both the church is not likely to grow. Creating a culture of hospitality facilitates each.”