A Little Quiz

Churches tell me they want to grow and they can’t understand why they aren’t growing.  They see themselves as “friendly.”  They are “welcoming.”  They specialize in “hospitality.”

Or do they?  Do we?  There are a lot of good church people out there who are sabotaging our ministry as people who model our lives after Jesus.

For example, try this simple test if real life scenarios:

Situation #1:  A church in a major city is located along the path of a large, long-planned citizen protest against what they consider to be corporate abuse.  The protest is to occur on a Sunday morning just as the church  gathers for worship.  Does the church:

a.  Cancel worship because traffic will prevent the members to get to their church building, and they don’t want protesters coming into their building?

b.  Increase the insurance on their church building in case the protesters are unruly and damage their building as they march by?

c. Serve water bottles and coffee along the parade route, while inviting protesters to come in for prayer, to use the restrooms, to rest in the sanctuary.

Situation #2: During coffee time after worship, a group of middle school boys from the neighborhood shows up asking if they can use the church gym for 30 minutes.  Does the Elder of the Day:

a.  Answer a quick, “No”  adding “And that’s that” ?

b. Remind the boys that they are not welcomed there.  They aren’t even members and neither are their parents.

c.  Offer to chaparone their game for 30 minutes while coffee hour is being cleared up?

Situation #3:  A parishioner is in the hospital for a holiday weekend and the pastor takes communion into his room, to be in solidarity with the congregation which celebrated communion that morning in worship.  The parishioner shares a room with another patient who is lying awake in the next bed.  The pastor offers communion to her parishioner and then asks the other patient if he would like communion as well.

a.  The parishioner explains to the pastor that “We wouldn’t want to embarrass Mr. X by assuming he would want communion.

b.  The parishioner signals to the pastor that she’s his pastor.  “Please do not disturb him,” the parishioner says to his pastor.  “You’re here for me, right?

c. The parishioner introduces his roommate to his pastor and invites the roommate to share communion with them, if he wishes.

I would love to tell you that hospitality won out in all these stories, but that wasn’t the case.  I don’t mean to offend the church people I love, but we are all guilty of being unwelcoming, unloving, judgmental souls. And eventually, this will kill the institutional church as we know it.

Every day God presents us with people to include, welcome, and serve.  But more times than not, we miss this completely.  And we wonder why our faith communities are not growing.


3 responses to “A Little Quiz

  1. Pingback: Think your congregation is hospitable? Take this quiz… « The Mustard Seed Journal

  2. It’s seems to me that these are all no brainers. Then again, maybe I am just around a lot of Christians who happen to be great thinkers or “care-ers” because I can honestly say that if I was in any of those three positions, I would have chosen The last answer. It’s something we can strive to foster in our fellowship. It’s not usually too difficult to persuade others to come to this way of thinking if you explain why.

    • I agree that they should be no brainers, but sadly, I’ve experienced every single answer, so there are people who don’t understand how they sabotage the ministry of their church. Thanks for your hope in the church.

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