“Practise hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)
I could end there, and that would be a helpful appeal that many of you would act upon – but I’ve got a whole page to fill…!
Someone once pointed out to me that many people find this a lonely time of year as activities such as Home Groups, which form a lifeline for them throughout the rest of the year, close down for the summer. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to run the Bible Course during the summer holidays, and perhaps one of the reasons why it is being so well attended!
We are richly blessed with being part of a church that offers a warm welcome whenever we meet together, or when other groups use our building. But I was challenged by a message that we recently received from Moorlands Bible College after we hosted a training day for children’s and youth workers here. Addressed to Wayne Dixon, the local schools worker who had organised the day, it simply said ‘Thank you for your hospitality, Wayne – great church to hold a training day in and they know how to do hospitality well.’
Thank you to those members of our hospitality team who did such a great job! But I haven’t shared that just to pat ourselves on the back… it challenged me because it gives us something to live up to!
So I want to challenge us to extend our welcome. During this summer, let’s all continue building relationships with each other in our homes over coffee or a meal; let’s take the chance to invite someone we know less well. And on Sunday mornings, why not develop the mindset that church starts when the doors open and not just when the service starts at 10.30? That way, any visitors or newcomers (who inevitably and very politely arrive in plenty of time for the service) will be met by a critical mass of DGBC regulars. And yes, tea and coffee are normally available before the service if you need something to wake you up!
Finally, whatever your plans are for the summer, may you be refreshed by someone’s act of hospitality, and may you find opportunities to refresh others in the same way. And as we continue to practise hospitality – both by giving it and by receiving it – may we all be equipped to start a new season in the life of the church in God’s strength.
With my love and prayers