The church must be the most hospitable and guest-friendly place on the planet if we take seriously the words from Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers (guests), for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Everyone is important and deserves our best efforts. That is the feeling of those who serve on the Dunwoody UMC Hospitality Ministry Team. Providing fellowship and friendship is one thing, but sharing the love of Christ to guests, and to those whom we don’t know, is something else. We are called to love others, because we have been loved by Christ. We welcome others because we have been welcomed.
For the last year and a half our church has been working to provide extraordinary care for those who are guests to our worship services and ministries. We have trained church members who serve at the Welcome Desks, as Greeters (inside and outside the facilities), and as Ushers to go beyond friendly and to exceed the expectations of our guests. We have a strong group of volunteers who each Sunday give their time, efforts and of themselves to offer a warm greeting and personal attention to all who attend, especially our guests. The Hospitality Ministry Team realizes that every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday.
Hospitality is more than fellowship with one another. It’s about opening our hearts to others and building relationships. What can you do to open the doors of DUMC wider so others may experience the love of Christ in their lives? Try these things:
Offer a warm greeting to each guest (and others whom you don’t know), starting with the person in front of you.
Wear your DUMC name tag. It is reassuring to newcomers if they know who they are talking with.
Introduce yourself, and learn the name of each guest.
Anticipate and fulfill each guests’ needs. Provide them with information about DUMC, or get them to someone who can provide the information.
Introduce guests to others you already know.
Take responsibility welcoming those within ten feet of you, especially those who may be alone.
Three Minute Rule
Spend at least three minutes before and after worship speaking with someone you don’t know.
Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35). He also said, “Just as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Creating a hospitable faith community is something that we are all called to do. Each of us has a part to play in the kingdom of God, whether we have a greeter ribbon on our name tag, or not. Those who are guests are often anxious and uncertain about what is going to happen here. Remember what it was like when you were a newcomer to DUMC. Ease their fears. Be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ be showing hospitality to all. You just might be entertaining an angel!
Rev. David Melton