Published: 3 years ago

Missional Hospitality

The following is a guest post by Josh Miller, the Summit’s Associate Pastor for North American Church Planting. (Full disclosure: I didn’t ask for the shout out in the post, but I do appreciate it.) Follow Josh on Twitter.

 

We strive to foster a culture of hospitality here at the Summit. We believe every person that walks through our doors is created in God’s image, so we want them to feel valued and welcome. If you attend one of our weekend services you’ll encounter a litany of volunteers ready to help you park, open your door, give you a pen and do your tax return (just kidding).

The end game? We want to help our guests hear the gospel by removing unnecessary obstacles. I love how our Connections Pastor Danny Franks puts it:

That’s why we say that though the Gospel offends, nothing else should. By the time a guest gets to the seat and listens to the message being preached, we should have done everything possible to pave the way with rose petals and puppy fur. In other words we should take a biblical virtue (hospitality) and put it together at an institutional level.[1]  

The virtue of hospitality is also at the core of church planting. It’s hospitality on mission. We want to help people across North America hear the gospel and church plants can do that by removing both geographic and cultural obstacles.

Geographic Obstacles

A few weeks ago our church planting staff got to visit Las Vegas.  Local pastors showed us a sprawling neighborhood home to more than twenty five thousand people where there are zero churches. Not zero Baptist churches, or zero evangelical churches but zero churches (though there are two Mormon temples). Lost people aren’t likely to drive thirty minutes to check out church. Church planting removes geographic obstacles by taking the gospel to where people live.

Cultural Obstacles

Tim Keller has noted that “long established churches develop traditions (such as time of worship, length of service, emotional responsiveness, sermon topics, leadership-style, emotional atmosphere, and thousands of other tiny customs and mores), which reflect the sensibilities of…the older generation.”[2] These traditions aren’t inherently bad; they just make it more difficult for new people to connect with the church. Church plants can remove cultural obstacles by developing traditions that are contextually appropriate.

Jesus is the ultimate example of missional hospitality. He left heaven’s throne to open heaven’s door.  As his followers we’re called to do the same (John 20:21). You can learn what missional hospitality looks like in practice by attending Go: North America on Monday, November 3rd. It’s an opportunity to interact with our church planters, learn about their target cities and investigate how God could use you to practice missional hospitality. RSVP and details available HERE.

 

[1] http://dfranks.com/2012/05/21/the-gospel-is-offensive-nothing-else- should-be/

[2] Tim Keller, Why Plant Churches, p. 2, pdf.

 

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