Coffee shop ponderings — hospitality

Many of you know that I spend a lot of time at my favorite coffee place, Coffee Choices.  Part of the reason is because I really like coffee, especially the variety of flavors that Coffee Choices offers (Black Raspberry and Blueberry Cinnamon Swirl are my favorites).  Another part of the reason I spend so much time there is the hospitality that they practice.  When I set up camp at my favorite table by the front window on Thursdays to eat lunch and write my sermon, I never have to get up.  They always make sure my cup is full and that I have everything I need (they treat all the customers that way…not just me).  The hospitality keeps me coming back.

In the Romans text for Sunday, Paul urges the church in Rome to “practice hospitality”.  And this is more than making friends and family feel welcome in your home.  But practicing hospitality is making people feel welcome, valued, special, etc when ever and where ever you are.  If, upon my first visit to Coffee Choices, they were not hospitable, I probably would not have returned again, but because they make me feel like a valued customer I have no problem giving them my business.  And because I have developed relationships with many people down there through hospitality, I have had many fruitful and inspiring conversations.

Imagine the impact we could have on people if we showed that same hospitality to all people at all times and in all places.  What if we made people feel like they are to most valued and special person in the world.  People would stop and take notice and want to be around you.  And the more people are around you, the more opportunities you have to show the sincere love of Christ to them.  But don’t let your hospitality be for selfish reasons, as Paul says in Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere“.  And when love is sincere, people will notice.

The people down at Coffee Choices are not putting on an act to get people to come back again, their hospitality is sincere, and THAT brings me back again and again.  Let YOUR love be sincere for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

-edh-

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6 responses to “Coffee shop ponderings — hospitality

  1. About 22 years ago, I was part of a big Bible Study program though the church, put out by Augsburg. I’m blanking on the name of it. Several of us went to training sessions and spent months promoting it in our church. One of the things we were told to think about was Hospitality. We also worked diligently in preparation, recruiting group leaders, and promoting (advertising) the program in our church.

    We looked for ways to make it possible and comfortable for people to come to the church building once each week and spend time in Bible Study. What were obstacles to attending? What would help? Etc.

    I guess we were successful, as we had more than 70 people participate. Yes, it dropped off after a year or two, but the effort at hospitality was worth it. Then, we were all more comfortable.

  2. heartofapastor

    Hospitality is at the heart of ministry. If people don’t feel valued when they come to a church for the first time, they won’t come back. But too often “members” forget about that and take hospitality for granted.

  3. Hi there,

    I’ve been really struck by how important hospitality is to a vibrant, Spirit filled church. Paul in his epistle to the Timothy said that hospitality was a characteristic trademark to look for in the potential leadership of the church, 1 Timothy 3:2, “2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,”

    Peter writing to a church under persecution, in 1 Peter 4:9, called them to, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

    I don’t know what secular culture is like in the States, but from where I come from people often spend more time insulating themselves away from others than building meaningful relationships on a solid foundation.

    In Christ,

    Mark

    * I’m kinda browsing through your content before I add you to my blogroll. I’m new to this blogging thing and am amazed by the mass of material you’ve posted. How long has this taken you? I’m battling to decide if the amount of effort and time that it takes me to post is worth the traffic I’m getting? I’m certainly going to start categorizing my content in a similar way to what I see here. (Personal note which you could remove) *

    • heartofapastor

      Hospitality is key. When new people visit Salem for the first time and I get a chance to visit with them I usually ask them how they were received. It’s hard for me to see how welcoming we are…I need the perspective of a visitor to give me insight.

      I have been blogging for 3 years this month; posting anywhere from once every couple weeks to 4 to 5 times a week. It depends on what is going on in my life and ministry.

      Categorizing your content is a good thing to do. I didn’t do a good job of that early on.

      Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading more from you. Where in South Africa are you? I am part of the ELCA (Evangelical Church in America) and most synods here have a companion synod in South Africa. My synod, Southwest Minnesota is connected to the Ondini Circuit. Does that mean anything to you?