We’re taking time each week to write in more detail about our 2016 Strategic Plan (i.e. where we are going to focus our energy and resources in the next year). If you didn’t catch the first post in this series, we encourage you to do so here.
Action 2: Offering lavish hospitality and care
In the last six months, we’ve taken good steps to be more hospitable, but we believe there’s more to do. Why is hospitality so important to us? There are two reasons. One has to do with our theology. The other has to do with the gift of family.
First, some theology. Hospitality matters to us because it matters to God. We believe that it is a central part of God’s character. The Scriptures reveal to us in Jesus a God that welcomes sinners, pursues those who are lost, strikes up a conversation with the untouchable and invites the denier and deserter to his table. God is lavishly hospitable. We are to be as well.
Second, let’s consider family. We know that the first step in belonging to a community is experiencing hospitality. Before deep relationships can form, we must know that we are welcome — that there’s room for us — that there’s a desire among those who already belong to include us.
In this next year we will continue to grow in our ability to extend lavish hospitality and care by:
- Creating a more welcoming environment on Sunday morning
- We want to build on the growth we’ve experienced in the last six months by making Sunday morning even more friendly to those who are new. This will mean things like better signage, reworking our information table and training our hospitality volunteers. But in the end, this action unquestionably hinges on the people of the Branch extending hospitality in ways big and small: simply saying ‘hi’ to someone they don’t recognize, extending an invitation to a Branch event, having someone new over for lunch, etc.
- Developing clear steps anyone can take to become more connected.
- We want to make sure we have clear ways for anyone who is new-ish to the Branch to build relationships and start to sense the gift of community that the Branch has to offer. This will mean — among other things — regularly scheduled lunches for those new to the Branch and developing a process for following up with those who are visiting.
- Creating a process that helps us respond wisely to the needs of those at the Branch and in the community.
- Identifying clear steps to take when those from inside and outside of the Branch community — especially when those needs have a financial element to them — approach us for help. The Stewards will take the lead in creating this.
If you are at the Branch today it is almost certainly because you experienced hospitality and care along the way. May we all extend that gift to those that join us in the next year.