A year ago, I was finishing my sabbatical journey to congregations that do a particularly good job of welcoming and including people. I have been trying to weave my discoveries into my preaching and teaching here at FPC, and have also been at work on a book called The Welcoming Congregation: Roots and Fruits of Christian Hospitality. Here is a sneak peak of the book, well ahead of its publication in the next year or so:
The roots of Christian hospitality include sites, worship, meals, and smallgroups.
DEVOTION, ALL COMMITTEE NIGHT
MAY 5, 2009
Philippians 2:1-5, 14-15
We were not raised in a world that teaches us to "consider others better than ourselves" nor to do everything without arguing or murmuring, yet, as mentioned in Philippians, that is what we are called to do as Christians. That is an "uncommon" way to treat people and to go about relationships.
So much of the time, church’s focus, meet and talk about what they need to do to improve their traditional worship, get more people involved, serve more of those in need, make worship more contemporary, get more people to their functions, serve our children better, get more members, get more pledging units, etc., all of these things are common amongst church meetings.
House of Prayer for All People
We believe God calls us to be an uncommon Christian community, embracing all people with God's love and grace. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we at FPC: Worship God with honesty, joy and imagination, nurture our lives of faith in Christ, extend hospitality and grace to all people, serve a world in need, and work for reconciliation among people of diverse perspectives.
by Jessica Tate, June 2009 Octagon
Author Anne Lamott explains that she makes her seven-year-old son Sam go to church because “When I was at the end of my rope, the people at St. Andrew’s [church] tied a knot in it for me and helped me hold on.”
She goes on to describe how this community helped her hold on even when she announced that she was broke and single and pregnant. She describes how they nursed her through pregnancy with casseroles and prayers and how they pass her son around the room like he’s their own. In her beautiful way of writing, Lamott never comes right out and says it, but in a single word, the reason she makes Sam go to church is: community.