The first time I heard a visitor to Country Club Christian Church say, “this is such a warm and welcoming church,” I was caught by surprise and I thought, Well, of course it is! But what does that mean?
We create a space that invites, receives and embraces all who come through our doors for worship. Taken a step further, hospitality goes beyond being friendly. It’s welcoming guests with a warmth, openness and authenticity that significantly exceeds expectations. It’s about connecting with one another and reaching out to those who are here, now. Some thoughts for each of us:
- Be present in the moment. Slow down and notice who’s around you. Remember people are more important than the task you are doing at that moment.
- Is someone by himself, or herself? Does someone need help or directions? Walking a person to where they need to go provides a great opportunity to visit and is preferable to simply pointing the way down the hall and around the corner.
- Have you hesitated to introduced yourself to someone you may not immediately recognize, afraid you’re supposed to know him/her? Don’t let that hold you back; you won’t forget that person next time and the two of you have made a good connection! Introduce that person to someone else you know.
- A person may choose to be anonymous initially and that’s okay, but invisible? No.
The authenticity of our hospitality is in the DNA of our church culture; it is who we are. The following is why I believe this to be true, and why I continue to be so inspired by each of you:
Recently, an elderly gentleman visited our church, but left in the middle of a service. As he was leaving, one of our members sitting in the narthex, noticed him wandering around a bit and asked if he was ok, if he needed help. The man explained he was going to catch a bus home from the stop on Wornall Road. The member of our church said, “That’s a long walk for you, could I drive you?” On the way, our member learned that there would be a long wait before the southbound bus arrived, so offered instead to drive the man to his home on 107th Street. In conversation, the gentleman mentioned that he was 91 years old and had recently lost his wife. He had left church because he wanted to go home; he was feeling sad.
Yes, we invite, receive and embrace all who walk through our doors for worship, and yes, it’s authentic.