Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Recipe for a good church..

What makes a good church? Well I guess there’s all sorts of criteria from doctrine to decor, but right up there, high on the list of New Testament priorities is hospitality: And I’m glad about that! Why? Well for a start because one of the things I enjoy most in life is the great pleasure of sitting around the table enjoying a good meal with good friends! You can’t beat it - a friendly atmosphere, lively conversation, tasty food and maybe a nice glass of something red... Perfect!
A few weeks ago Angie and I were away in Calgary serving the church there, and in the process we enjoyed some great Canadian hospitality from Richard & Margaret Graham (Richard leads Harvest Christian Fellowship). As well as being warmly welcomed into their home, I really enjoyed those pancakes covered in maple syrup!!

Yes, hospitality is good and I’m so glad that King’s has a pretty strong reputation here, going back to those early days when we practiced ‘Open House’ on a Sunday morning, when the church family would take it in turn to open their home to as many as wanted to go for Sunday lunch. Of course the church is a bit big to do that nowadays, but I am very keen that we shouldn’t lose that great tradition (yes, some traditions are very good!). Of course receiving hospitality is only half the story, there’s the giving of it that makes it work! If no one gave it, then no one would receive it!! And then even more importantly, hospitality is not only inviting your best friends round. The Greek word from which we get the word ‘hospitality’ literally means ‘to love the stranger’, so actually, real hospitality stars to kick in when we not only open our homes to one another, but start to look out for those on the edge of things who could really use a friendly invitation. And I’m convinced that God loves that, because His love begins to flow and the church moves from being an organisation to being a family.
So can I encourage us all this summer, to take advantage of the BBQ season and the extra time we have on our hands, and invite some folk over. It’s great fun AND it builds the family!