The New Testament usually assumes that Sunday church gatherings will only be made up of born-again believers. However, there is one passage, 1 Corinthians 14, which instructs believers to be aware of how their worship services, especially the orderliness of them, may impact unbelievers who visit with them. That is an intriguing thought, isn’t it? Our Sunday services ought to focus on believers, the born-again members of our church, but we should also keep in mind the guests that we have in attendance.
Of course, the Bible is full of instructions about being hospitable. Biblical hospitality (as opposed to merely “Southern hospitality,” which is good too) is a highly esteemed godly value. Christians are to be those who are aware of others—there presence, needs, and our Gospel ministry to them. Hebrews 13:2 famously exhorts, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The last part of the verse concerning angels almost certainly alludes to Abraham hosting God’s messengers in Genesis 18 and his nephew Lot doing the same in Genesis 19. Don’t get bogged down by that idea, though. It is only supposed to illustrate and emphasize the command to “show hospitality to strangers.”
Think of these things from church perspective. Don’t you think that we ought to go out of our way to welcome guests in our church services? If one of our members brings family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers, shouldn’t we be hospitable to our guests? What about those who take it upon themselves to visit with us on Sunday mornings? We should certainly greet them, invite them to sit with us, and show them where the bathrooms are or children’s areas and the like. Church hospitality is so important! Christians should be the most welcoming and loving people on the planet.
On this point of ministry, our church should really be commended. There is never a time that someone visits with us and is not greeted and warmly welcomed. We are really good about it. Let me encourage you to continue to be so hospitable and to not only be so initially but throughout their visit. If you see folks eating by themselves at a potluck, go and join them, especially if they are new to the church. Invite someone to your pew. Offer to take them to lunch one Sunday. Follow up with them on the phone or by email. There are so many simple ways to invest in the life of others by being hospitable. Obviously, there are some cautions to keep in mind: We do not want to overwhelm our guests, we do not want to put them on the spot in public, we do not want to be nosy, and we do not want to be disingenuous. You get the picture. There are restraints to maintain, but let us be the most welcoming, genuine, loving, and warm church in town! The Lord will defintitely be pleased with that kind of ministry!