Category: Church Hospitality

Cena Internazionale: Buon Appetito!

An Italian, a Mexican, and an American walk into a flat, where they meet a Dutch woman and a Congolese man.

Not the set-up for a joke, I swear! It was the introduction to one of the most fun hospitality experiences I’ve had recently.

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International Communion Meal

The Communion Meal at Damascus Road International Church in Maastricht, Netherlands, went really well, from all the reports I’ve heard! They plan to do it again at Easter time.

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Communion Meal Brainstorming

Tonight I’ve been working on ideas for a communion meal at a church. Here’s the brainstorming document I put together after Googling and thinking. I’m quite curious to hear your creative/unique/symbolic ideas for communion services or meals.

My youth pastor from high school is planting an international church in the Netherlands. Kent and his wife, Leslie, have been missionaries in the NL for seven years, and they’ve been in Maastricht since January, starting Damascus Road International Church. I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in little ways from a distance, and Matthew and I had an incredible visit with them when we were in Europe in September.

I remember from the beginning, back in January, Kent has talked about wanting to host communion meals with the church, where it’s more than just taking communion in a church service–it’s a full meal, shared together. They’re doing it for the first time on December 12. Kent and I got talking about it via email a few days ago, and I ended up putting together some ideas.

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Flexing My Rusty Small Group Hosting Skills

Opening a home for a Bible study / home group / small group feels very natural to me. I grew up as a pastor’s kid seeing my parents model this kind of organized hospitality. When I was younger, I mostly noticed the house-prep aspects of hosting home group: the bathroom and main areas of the house had to be clean, snacks had to be prepared, chairs had to be set up in a circle.

In high school, I co-led a youth small group and experienced the role of facilitator for the first time. People had to be invited, and welcomed when they arrived. The flow of the evening had to be gently led, people (and the mood) transitioned from games and ice breakers to study and discussion…fun to serious to snacks. The conversation had to be directed, everyone given a chance to speak, all viewpoints balanced and heard.

I’ve helped facilitate small group meetings/Bible studies since then – the newlyweds group my husband and I led for several years, the women’s classes I’ve coordinated.

It’s been a while since I’ve done small group hospitality, though. So when I started an 8-week short-term study for women recently, my long-learned skills felt rusty. I tried to remember everything I needed to do, and over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten back into the groove.

If you’re new to leading or hosting a small group, or if it’s been a while, here are some of the lessons I’ve re-learned.

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Welcome, SCL friends! Have a cup of…Skittles?

I just realized Jon Acuff never talks about coffee on Stuff Christians Like, so I’m not sure how to make an SCL-flavored joke about offering you a cup of coffee. I think I’m supposed to give you Razzle Dazzles or some other type of delightful, fruit-flavored candy instead.

If you’re here from the guest post that Joanna and I wrote for SCL this morning, welcome! (And if you’re not…welcome anyway, even though you’re probably not as funny as those who came from SCL.)

I just wrote here about wrangling my two kids, six friends, and their children to Massachusetts to hear Jon speak and what I learned about church hospitality from Fellowship Church in Holden, MA.

If you’re interested in making a church more welcoming, you might like the Practical Ministry Skills guide to church hospitality I put together for BuildingChurchLeaders.com. (It’s approximately 78% less funny than my SCL guest post and 96% percent less funny than Jon’s Stuff Christians Like book. It is, however, quite useful.)

I would love it if you’d take a moment to share in the comments here about a horrifically bad church hospitality experience you’ve had (or an angelically perfect one, if you’re more of an optimist).

Thanks again for stopping by. *Cyber side hug!*

Stuff Christians Like: Hospitable Churches

I cheated on my church a few weeks ago.

I didn’t even have a good reason, like traveling for business or being on vacation. The opportunity presented itself, and without thinking, I just went for it. I had a one-Sunday stand with another church. And the worst part is, I dragged other people from my church down with me.
I know, you thought better of me than that. But I’ll try to salvage my tattered reputation by playing the authenticity card. (The only thing that looks better than a perfect person is an authentic person.)┬áSo I’ll *authentically* tell you all about my church-cheating experience and what I learned from it in the hope that my pastor will forgive me – maybe he will when I implement some of these hospitality lessons at my home church.
So a few weeks ago, one of my favorite writers was in frigid New England all the way from the friendly South. Jon Acuff blogs at StuffChristiansLike.net, where he writes satirically about western Christianity, trying to clear away the clutter of culture so that people can see Christ better. Stuff Christians Like, or “SCL” as it will henceforth be called herein, has encouraged me a ton since I started reading it last fall. When I heard Jon was going to be preaching at a church outside Boston, about an hour away from where I live in Providence, I jumped at the chance to hear him speak live. I brought three carloads of good girlfriends, fellow SCL fans, with me.

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