Fruitful Practice #1: Radical Hospitality

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1 Fruitful Practice #1: Radical Hospitality The greatest difference between stagnant and declining congregations and those that are continually growing is that in fruitful congregations, the pastor and staff are constantly learning, the leaders and volunteers are constantly learning, and the members and guests are practicing and improving the basic elements of ministry. (Robert Schnase, United Methodist Bishop) Christian hospitality refers to the active desire to invite, welcome, receive, and care for those who are strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover for themselves the unending richness of life in Christ. Biblical basis for hospitality: - For you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:19 NRSV) - Go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see. (Matthew 22:9 NLT) - Jesus: Whoever welcomes one such child is my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:5 NRSV) - Jesus: I was a stranger and you welcomed me Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35,40 NRSV) - Charge against Jesus: This fellow welcomes sinners & eats with them. (Luke 15:2 NRSV) - Don t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. (Hebrews 13:2 NLT) - Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7 NRSV) What is radical hospitality? - Drastically different from ordinary practice, outside the norm so it exceeds expectations, goes the second mile, takes welcoming the stranger to the max - More than friendliness, it involves a restlessness caused by the realization that so many people do not have a relationship to a faith community (40-60% of our neighbors) - Focuses on needs of those around us and what we have to offer them and what they have to offer us - Realizes this Sunday is the only Sunday that counts for first-time guests - Anticipates others needs and looks at things from an outsider s point of view - Every ministry is considered in terms of how to reach those who are not yet here - Surprises newcomers with a genuine sense of caring that is over the top - Requires intentional effort ushers & greeters, care & maintenance of facilities, public communication, guest-focused, follow up, always learning best methods, new ministries - Extends beyond invitation & welcome to reception (inclusion) & care (support) In summary - Fruitful congregations are outward-focused, missional, and aware that it s not about them - Hospitality is prayer, work, habit, practice, initiative - Radical hospitality stretches & challenges us, pulls out our best effort, forces us to take risks A few final thoughts - Little changes have big effects What changes, large or small, might God be calling the Lynn Haven Church to make? - A church changes its culture one person at a time o What are you willing to do to invite, welcome, receive, and care for others? - Every member of the Body of Christ is the fruit of someone s ministry and faithfulness o Who is the fruit of yours?

2 Radical Hospitality- Discussion Questions for Small Groups Directions: The following questions are taken from the Radical Hospitality survey. The purpose of discussing these questions in your group is to help you think about your answer to the questions prior to submitting a survey. Each person should fill out a survey individually. The survey can be found online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/rad_hos. Paper copies are located in the Welcome Center at both church campuses. Please return paper copies to an usher, the Welcome Center or the church office. The first part of the survey will ask demographic questions. The next series of questions deal with your first visit to Lynn Haven Church. This may be a recent or distant experience for you. Do your best to recall your perspectives during your first visit. 1. Describe your first visit to Lynn Haven Church. (Did you feel welcomed (yes/no)? Were you received warmly, with attention from our members? (yes/no) Who or what made you feel welcome?) 2. How did you first hear about Lynn Haven Church? 3. Did someone invite you to attend Lynn Haven Church? Yes No 4. What things, if any, made you feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed? 5. Did someone from Lynn Haven Church follow-up with you after your first visit? If so, how? 6. What ultimately made you choose to become a part of Lynn Haven rather than another church? These final questions deal with how we could improve Hospitality at Lynn Haven Church 7. How could we more effectively communicate with the public about our church and its ministries? 8. How could we help, remind, and encourage our members to invite new people? 9. What are some key entry points (groups, activities, events) through which new people are most likely to connect with our congregation? 10. What new ways could we use to incorporate more persons into the life of our congregation? (i.e. suggested new ministries, classes, or outreach projects) 11. Think about someone entering our current church property or building for the first time... What do they notice that makes them feel welcome? (i.e. parking, signs, people) What might they find confusing or unattractive? What is one thing we could immediately do to make our building more friendly and accessible? What are some larger or longer-term solutions we might want to consider? (Please indicate if your comments apply to Transmitter or Fusion facilities) 12. What is one thing we could immediately do to make our worship services, Sunday school classes, and small groups more welcoming? 13. What is one thing YOU can do to become more welcoming toward others? 14. Think of one person YOU could invite to worship or one of our ministries. Will you commit to pray for them and invite them within the next three months? Yes, I will pray for them Yes, I will invite them 15. What could we do "outside the church walls" that would show our community we are a welcoming and caring congregation? (feel free to suggest something "radical") 16. Closing Thoughts: If you have any other comments, observations, questions, or suggestions related to Radical Hospitality, please feel free to enter them below.

3 Fruitful Practice #1: Radical Hospitality Survey Lynn Haven United Methodist Church Directions: This is survey 1 of our Fruitful Congregation series. Return completed paper surveys to any usher, to the Welcome Stations at either campus, or the church office. We encourage everyone to fill out a survey individually and to return it before the next Sunday. However, surveys will be collected throughout the sermon series. If you would like to submit the survey online please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/rad_hos. 1. In what year were you born? (for example, 1976) 2. What is your gender? 3. Are you currently married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married? (Circle all that apply) Married Widowed Divorced Separated Never married 4. In what ZIP code is your home located? (enter 5-digit ZIP code; for example, or 94305) 5. How many dependent children (0 to 10 years old) live in your household? None More than 4 6. How many dependent children (11 to 21 years old) live in your household? None More than 4 7. What is your ethnicity? (Please circle all that apply.) American Indian or Alaskan Native Hispanic or Latino Asian or Pacific Islander White / Caucasian Black or African American Prefer not to answer 8. What languages do you speak fluently? (List all) 9. About how long have you attended Lynn Haven Church? (estimated number of years and months) 10. Are you currently a regular member of a Small Group or Sunday School Class?

4 11. Which campus of Lynn Haven Church do you attend most regularly? (please circle) Transmitter Fusion 12. For those that attend the Transmitter Road Campus: What Sunday service time do you most regularly attend? 8:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m 11:00 a.m. Sanctuary 11:00 a.m. Chapel 13. Please list the Lynn Haven ministries and activities with which you are regularly involved. List as many as you need. The next series of questions deal with your first visit to Lynn Haven Church. This may be a recent or distant experience for you. Do your best to recall your perspectives during your first visit. 14. Describe your first visit to Lynn Haven Church. (Did you feel welcomed (yes/no)? Were you received warmly, with attention from our members? (yes/no) Who or what made you feel welcome?) 15. How did you first hear about Lynn Haven Church? 16. Did someone invite you to attend Lynn Haven Church? Yes No 17. What things, if any, made you feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed? 18. Did someone from Lynn Haven Church follow-up with you after your first visit? If so, how? 19. What ultimately made you choose to become a part of Lynn Haven rather than another church? These final questions deal with how we could improve Hospitality at Lynn Haven Church 20. How could we more effectively communicate with the public about our church and its ministries? 21. How could we help, remind, and encourage our members to invite new people? 22. What are some key entry points (groups, activities, events) through which new people are most likely to connect with our congregation?

5 23. What new ways could we use to incorporate more persons into the life of our congregation? (i.e. suggested new ministries, classes, or outreach projects) 24. Think about someone entering our current church property or building for the first time... What do they notice that makes them feel welcome? (i.e. parking, signs, people) What might they find confusing or unattractive? What is one thing we could immediately do to make our building more friendly and accessible? What are some larger or longer-term solutions we might want to consider? (Please indicate if your comments apply to Transmitter or Fusion facilities) 25. What is one thing we could immediately do to make our worship services, Sunday school classes, and small groups more welcoming? 26. What is one thing YOU can do to become more welcoming toward others? 27. Think of one person YOU could invite to worship or one of our ministries. Will you commit to pray for them and invite them within the next three months? Yes, I will pray for them Yes, I will invite them 28. What could we do "outside the church walls" that would show our community we are a welcoming and caring congregation? (feel free to suggest something "radical") 29. Closing Thoughts: If you have any other comments, observations, questions, or suggestions related to Radical Hospitality, please feel free to enter them below.

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