Hospitality is a clear and tangible expression of God’s grace! So, each month I’m going to try and share a couple hospitality tips to help us do our best at welcoming the visitors and guests God sends to us at Trinity. Remember, the Bible tells us that, when we welcome a stranger, we may actually be welcoming an angel – a messenger from God.
Tip #1 – Give our best attentiveness to our guests. We all love to see our friends when we come to church, right? But we need to remember how nerve-wracking, anxiety-producing, and awkward it can feel to visit a church for the first time… especially if we don’t know anyone.
If you haven’t visited a “strange” church recently, I want to invite you (and give you my blessing) to visit a church sometime in the next six months; a church where you know no one! Take notice of how you feel. Take notice of what feels strange and awkward – everything from where to park, what door to enter, where to sit, whether you can take your coffee into the sanctuary, when to sit and when to stand.
That’s why on Sunday mornings, we need to give our best attentiveness to our guests. We all know how to reach one another – by phone, email, etc. If we need to talk about something important, we can arrange a time to meet or talk during the week. But, on Sunday morning, we need to keep our eyes peeled for guests and visitors and offer them quality attention and hospitality. Even if you are engaged in conversation with a friend and see a stranger out of the corner of your eye, just say to your friend, “Can you just give me a moment? I’d like to introduce myself to this person.” Take a little time to give priority attention to the visitor before you return to your conversation with a friend. And, if you do, guess what? That guest will probably be so impressed by your welcome that, down the road, they will be the friend from whom you need to excuse yourself in order to meet a new guest!
Tip #2 – Never point! If a guest/visitor asks for directions to the restroom, nursery, coffee cart, don’t point or give verbal instructions; offer to walk with them. Accompany them to their destination. As you walk you can chat and introduce yourself. Our lovely historic building was built with lots of little nooks and crannies many of us don’t even notice anymore. But those nooks and crannies can become a maze for visitors. Don’t risk someone getting lost. Take the time to walk with them.
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