In this day and age of church-attenders looking for flash, pizzaz, and excitement, “getting involved” in church the way in which we are advocating may seem a bit uninspiring. However, if we are committed to viewing the church in a Biblical way, then when we look to the New Testament, we find that getting involved is really a matter of simple, yet intentional relationships. What should mark the life of any local church and its pursuits is that we are investing in people, not programs and activities.1
Church activity that builds into relationships will last … After all, people are eternal. The lasting work of the church is the relational work of the church. (Jamie Dunlop)
As a church member, you should begin to think about your relationships in the church on a couple of different levels,
- Hospitality (a breadth of relationships), and
- Discipling (a depth of relationships).
For now, let’s consider the breadth of your relationships and your commitment to hospitality.
So, you want to get involved in church?
Why not offer and accept hospitality?
While we may automatically think in terms of “inviting someone over for dinner”, the New Testament word for “hospitality” simply means “love of strangers.” The concept is just an issue of you opening your life up to all kinds of different people. While it should impact the way in which we interact with all people, it must become a significant aspect of our life together as a church (see Romans 12:13, 15:7; 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 5-8)! As members of one of another, we should be eager and ready to open our lives up, even to those we may not know as well. But, that’s the whole point – to get to know each other better so that we can love and serve each other better!We should be eager and ready to open our lives up, even to those we may not know as well. But, that's the whole point – to get to know each other better so that we can love and serve each other better! Click To Tweet
Think about what hospitality could look like for you this next week.
- College students, have you considered inviting some of the senior adults to lunch with you and your friends?
- Empty-nesters, why not offer to babysit for a young couple next Friday night?
- Senior adults, have you thought about attending the wedding of one of the younger members of the church, even if you don’t know them well?
- Close-knit friends, have you ever invited some new members to join your group of friends to spend the day at the park or exploring downtown?
- Young couples, would you consider inviting some older couples into your home for supper?
- Families, why not invite a group of new members into your home to play games and hang out?
- Long-time member, why not go out of your way to introduce yourself to a new family at church and have them over for a cookout?
- Young single, have you considered attending the funeral of an elderly member in order to show comfort and love to the family?
Sure, these activities may break you out of your comfortable friend groups, but these are simple, yet intentional aspects of hospitality. And these basic actions open your life up and allow you to begin to foster deeper relationships where you can live out the “one-another” passages with a diversity of people in real practical ways.
Here’s the point – when you grow in hospitality by inviting others into your life, and when you grow in reaching out to those with whom you may not share much natural commonality, a diversity of relationships begins to shape the culture of this church and expresses a unity centered on Jesus.When you grow in reaching out to those with whom you may not share much natural commonality, a diversity of relationships begins to shape the culture of this church and expresses a unity centered on Jesus. Click To Tweet
For the glory of God, let’s “seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13) and really start getting involved in church! In fact, why not take some time this week to ask God to help you consider ways in which you can adjust your normal way of doing life to include intentional acts of hospitality. Because, when you get down to it, genuine hospitality reflects the love and grace by which God has welcomed us as His own!
Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
1 The concept for this post was inspired by chapter 7 of The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive, by Jamie Dunlop and Mark Dever.