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A Theology of Hospitality

posted Dec 22, 2012, 11:09 PM by Staff Administrator   [ updated Jan 1, 2013, 8:48 PM ]
As I think about our church and its ministry, I think about the ministry of Jesus when He was here in the flesh.  What did He do? What was His focus?  How did He treat people, especially “outsiders”?  How can we be like Him and replicate His ministry? In exploring the gospel accounts, it becomes apparent that Jesus was a man of hospitality.  What I mean is that He welcomed everyone into His presence with loving acceptance.  He did not/does not condone sinful behavior but He did/does accept and love people in spite of their sin.  Jesus modeled for us that our ministry is to bring the lost to God.  His method was love.  His method was to welcome sinners into His presence so that they could experience His love and choose a relationship with Him.  He took that message to the social and religious outcasts of His day.  He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, people who did not go to church and others that good religious people would avoid.  His invitation was, and is, to the hurting, the confused, the lost, the unloved and even the immoral—all of us at one time or another.  His welcome tells us to bring our hurts, our exhaustion, our struggles, our hopes and our fears to Him so that He can love on us.

In light of this, our ministry (both as a church and as individuals) is to reach out to the unreached.  We are to love the unloved and unlovable.  We are to accept the unacceptable.  We are to heal the hurting and guide the lost to Christ.  A lost person will not desire a relationship with Christ until they have seen His love through us. In student ministry, there is a lot of focus on accepting youth and kids as they are.  We have a “come as you are” perspective.  In order to reach them, we must overlook issues of hair color, clothing style, body piercing, music and even family and church backgrounds.  We have to love students regardless of their past mistakes (sin), self-inflicted pain and current struggles.  We must reach out to them where they are and how they are in order for them to become who God made them to be.  This is a perspective that the church as a whole must embrace in order to make an impact on the world and our community.

Friends, it is time to get radical.  It is time to think outside of the box.  It is time to engage our community and its culture.  It is time to sell out to Jesus’ model of ministry.  It is time to invite everyone we encounter to experience His love.  It is time to welcome everyone with open arms.  It is time to get personal and share our lives with each other as we reach out and grow in our ministry. I challenge you this week to put this into practice.  Invite someone to church (someone who does not go to church already).  Dress as they dress so that they will feel more comfortable.  Be bold in explaining the gospel and what God has done for you.  Meet someone at church that you do not know.  Invite someone new over for dinner.  Hug someone who looks like they need it.  This is a Theology of Hospitality.  This is the Ministry of Love.  This is our calling.