Warm greetings in the Name of our Risen Savior!
By the time you receive this newsletter, our Costa Rica Team is already having Spirit-filled time attending the global evangelism event hosted by the World Methodist Evangelism. Thank you, Davis Street, for all your prayers, support and generosity to equip our young adult leaders so that they can effectively witness for Jesus Christ!
On June 2018, our key lay leadership is wrapping-up our 9-month Shift Training under the NC Conference Connectional Ministries. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is “shifting” Davis Street from decline and stagnancy towards becoming a vital and thriving congregation.
Therefore, I’m launching a 6-week Sermon Series this coming June, focusing on one of the major shifts— Radical Hospitality. Dr. Phil Maynard says, “Hospitality is more than fellowship with one another… Hospitality is focused on welcoming the stranger… those with physical needs of shelter and nourishment but also those who know the pain of exclusion. Jesus modeled this as those who turned to Him found welcome and the promise of being included in the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 25).
To become a vibrant, fruitful, growing congregation requires a change of attitudes, practices, and values. Good intentions are not enough. Bishop Robert Schnase says, “Too many churches want more young people as long as they act like old people, more newcomers as long as they act like old-timers, more children as long as they are as quiet as adults, more ethnic families as long as they act like the majority in the congregation.”
We can do better! It takes practicing radical hospitality—and all the redirecting of energy and resources and volunteer time that comes with this. Church leaders can’t keep doing things the way they have always done them. Little changes have big effects.
If every ministry changed a little toward welcoming new, younger and diverse people, the cumulative effect might change the direction of the church. From safe and easily supportable new initiatives, such as He-Brews Coffee Ministry to a more risk-taking ministries such as the 8:45am Missional Community or Fresh Expressions Church in a poverty-stricken and violent neighborhood, churches can let the “radical hospitality” they see in Christ lead them in creative directions.
A congregation marked by such “radical hospitality” adopts an invitational posture that changes everything it does. Members work with a heightened awareness of the person who is not present, the neighbors, friends, and co-workers who have no church home. With every ministry, they consider how to reach those who do not yet know Christ.
Indeed, “radical hospitality” is about opening our hearts to others, building relationships and accepting all people without regard to the color of their skin, age, gender, social status, physical abilities, etc. Radical hospitality is about engaging people where they are, listening to their joys and hurts, and help them feel accepted, respected, connected, needed and loved with the goal of offering the gracious love of God so that they may be disciples of Jesus Christ!