Radical Hospitality

Dear Church,

This past Sunday I preached on “radical hospitality.” Radical hospitality is understanding that our belonging is tied up in the belonging of others; it is recognizing the call to give up our power or ownership in spaces we inhabit; it is welcome informed by the pursuit of justice. There are many ways that churches can practice radical hospitality, from large scale works of justice to the details of visitor experience on Sunday mornings.

 It’s always been clear to me that welcome and inclusion are values of this church. Every statement that was written on the vision day contained ideas referencing welcome/inclusion/embrace that is modeled on how God loves us and how we want to model that. Each statement also made references to the brokenness of the world and the need for justice in our communities. These two ideas together are the core of radical hospitality. I hope that radical hospitality will be a practice that challenges us to live up to our own high ideals.

A word of caution- it’s easy to fit whatever we already want to do under the umbrella of a big idea like radical hospitality. My challenge to all of us is to begin with the big idea and then work down to planning how we can embody it through projects or programs. This difference in approach changes how we listen to God and our community and opens us up to ideas we may not have had yet. It’s a shift in who owns what the church does that asks us to be sacrificial. Undergoing a strategic planning process will help us to do this and will also give us a repeatable method that we can use again and again, regardless of who is in leadership, to answer God’s call on us. It also helps us think of what results we hope to get so that we know if we’re on the right track.

I have all confidence that we can grow in our practice of radical hospitality and that it will be both challenging and transformational! If you haven’t yet filled out the survey from last week’s letter, you can still do that here. We’ll use these questions to seed some table talk at the fellowship meal this Sunday. And as a reminder, you can come visit with me on Wednesdays from 5-7pm at Hendershots.


Pastor Laura