The first practice of fruitful congregations for Bishop Robert Schnase is Radical Hospitality. Through radical hospitality we go beyond greeting people who visit our local church to inviting them to worship, small groups, leadership and more. It is a joy-filled process as one shares the joy already found in following Jesus Christ.
I love to get to know people and to make connections. In demonstrating radical hospitality, I would introduce people who have common affinities so that they may further their personal growth together. A congregation that practices radical hospitality would not quickly reject ideas from budding leaders, but encourage those people to develop the program for the glory of God.
Simple items of hospitality that so many congregations overlook include signage and greeters. The greeters need to be people who interact with each person who walks in the door, particularly the newcomer. The signage needs to point to the nursery and the Sunday school rooms as well as the worship space and rest rooms. When there are multiple adult Sunday school classes, the differences need to be explained by signs or greeters.
However, radical hospitality goes so much beyond these little things. Look at your neighborhood. Who is present? What are their needs? There are many immigrants in my neighborhood, so our congregation provides English language classes and immigration clinics. What more could we do to show hospitality? Perhaps we should learn other languages; perhaps we need more immigrants in positions of leadership; perhaps we need to provide busing for those without vehicles and programs in homes in neighborhoods where the people live.
I hope to see more radical hospitality so that more can rejoice with us as we engage in the next practice of a fruitful congregation: passionate worship.