A couple of months ago we looked at prayer to lay the foundation for growing the church during a pandemic. In my last article, I suggested the pastor and laity develop technology teams. I would like us to now look at the effect of radical hospitality during the pandemic. Enough cannot be said about radical hospitality. The cliché “it’s nice to be nice” may not be a mantra for radical hospitality because it is much more than just being nice. Radical hospitality is a culture that is infectious and contagious. The pandemic has brought challenges but opportunities as well. However, opportunities for hospitality will not fall into our laps, we must look for and expect these opportunities.
How do we capture church growth during a pandemic through radical hospital? We must get back to basics showing people that we care. Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you said people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The church must learn to speak with radical hospitality by giving people a sense of warmth and welcome. This must be an intentional effort. Not only is it our responsibility, but Jesus showed radical hospitality in the Scriptures. Paul mentions in Romans 12:13, “when God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality”. The need for hospitality is real my Beloved, but it must be practiced. 1 Peter 4:9 says, “to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Church growth is a combination of many things. However, a church cannot grow if it does not have a sense of direction and practice radical hospitality. Whether you find yourselves in person-to-person worship, Zoom worship, or streaming worship, within the contents of your church you can create a small hospitality team. It should be a team that can show the love of God in a real way. The team can be a part of the class leader system which is a great place to start. However, the vision of a hospitality team is singular focused. Therefore, it could get lost in the class leaders’ system if attention and oversight is not given.
One may even ask, “Where do we get all these people from for a prayer team, technology team, hospitality team, and follow up team?” I would offer this suggestion. Look at ways that your local church can partner with other CME Churches in the area. When the pastor and laity understand the mission of God and the mission of the church growth happens. This will truly be connectional if one church has a need that maybe other churches could offer help, hope, and assistance. Now that’s hospitality! If this pandemic has taught us anything at all it should have taught us that we’re better together.