Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Romans 15:7, NRSV
This sermon series is based on the book Five Practices for Fruitful Congregations by Bishop Robert Schnase.
Quotes from the Book:
Christian hospitality refers to the active desire to invite, welcome, receive, and care for those who are strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover for themselves the unending richness of life in Christ. It describes a genuine love for others who are not yet a part of the faith community, an outward focus, a reaching out to those not yet known, a love that motivates church members to openness and adaptability, a willingness to change behaviors in order to accommodate the needs and receive the talents of newcomers. Beyond intention, hospitality practices the gracious love of Christ, respects the dignity of others, and expresses God's invitation to others, not our own. Hospitality is a mark of Christian discipleship, a quality of Christian community, a concrete expression of commitment to grow in Christ-likeness by seeing ourselves as part of the community of faith, “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20: 28). By practicing hospitality, we become part of God's invitation to new life, showing people that God in Christ values them and loves them. --Schnase, Robert (2011-12-01). Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (pp. 11-12). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Hospitality has us seeing people as Jesus sees them and seeing Jesus in the people God brings before us. --Schnase, Robert (2011-12-01). Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (p. 13). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
People need to know God loves them, that they are of supreme value, and that their life has significance. People need to know that they are not alone; that when they face life's difficulties, they are surrounded by a community of grace; and that they do not have to figure out entirely for themselves how to cope with family tensions, self-doubts, periods of despair, economic reversal, and the temptations that hurt themselves or others. People need to know the peace that runs deeper than an absence of conflict, the hope that sustains them even through the most painful periods of grief, the sense of belonging that blesses them and stretches them and lifts them out of their own preoccupations. People need to learn how to offer and accept forgiveness and how to serve and be served. As a school for love, the church becomes a congregation where people learn from one another how to love. People need to know that life is not having something to live on but something to live for, that life comes not from taking for oneself but by giving of oneself. People need a sustaining sense of purpose. --Schnase, Robert (2011-12-01). Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (p. 18). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.