Strategic Hospitality

David Mathis of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN recently shared an insight that floored him. He picked it up at an intensive training event with one of the country’s top church-planting strategists, Steve Childers. For just a moment, he lets us join him in the conversation:

“You know what the key to evangelism in the 21st-century will be, don’t you?”

[Childers] wasn’t talking Global South, but the Western hemisphere — and America in particular.

I’m sure he could see on our faces how eager we were for his answer. Wow, the key, we were thinking. This is huge.

He paused and smiled that memorable Steve Childers world-evangelism grin. He waited. Still waiting. Still paused. Still nothing. Hold it . . . hold it. I was almost ready to burst with, “Just c’mon already!”

Finally he lifted the curtain.

“Hospitality.”

Literally, the word for hospitality is a combination of two in the New Testament: “love” and “outsiders”. How would you put those together as a definition? I’ll bet you are right – love for outsiders. That love includes a few different categories, so I encourage you to read the post that Mathis wrote.

But how do you purposefully open your home to connect people to the God who made them and loves them? What could you do to help believers and unbelievers experience grace (through freely giving a meal) and connectivity (through opening your heart) that is a taste of God’s grace and reconciliation? What if we didn’t worry as much of what they might think of me, and were freed to dream of their finding God to all that they need as we share life and the good news of Jesus together?

Remember, we impress people from a distance but we impact them when we are close.

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