As you know, our church community has exploded with growth over the last few years. This is a big part of why we decided to plant King’s Cross Church, so that while we continue to pursue all of Christ for all of life for all of Moscow, we might do so with slightly smaller platoons where we know one another and can encourage one another a little better.
A central aspect of this community that we are seeking to grow is hospitality. We believe in welcoming strangers, feeding the hungry, and befriending the lonely. It was not good for man to be alone in the beginning, and that was not just talking about bachelors; it was talking about community. We are talking about the work of the Spirit in the Church, conforming us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. This happens around conversations after church, meals in one another’s homes, play dates, business ventures, prayer, and worship.
All the indicators are that you all are doing a fantastic job. The elders hear regularly from newer folks who find themselves inundated with warm welcomes, friendliness after the services, and invitations for dinner. As just one indicator of that, Pastor Wilson recently pointed out that over the last six months, 28 meal trains have been set up, with over 370 meals delivered, averaging about 2 meals a day, and that’s only tracking meals for new babies or other significant medical issues. You are a congregation that practices hospitality regularly, and of course, this begins in your own families.
So this is just a word of encouragement: well done and keep up the good work. The growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet, and if you’ve been here about six months, you might as well consider yourself an old timer.
But the center of this hospitality instinct is not some kind of warmed-over humanism. The center of this hospitality is the grace of Christ. When we were strangers, He welcomed us in. When we were lonely, He befriended us. When we were starved-hungry, He fed us, with His own life.
If practicing hospitality is new to you, let me encourage you to start small, and practice joyful hospitality with your spouse, your kids, your roommates, and then ask God to show you how to share it with others. Hospitality is something you practice, and you can actually get quite good at it. And if you’ve been practicing hospitality for a while, thanks much and keep up the good work. And to everyone: labor to keep Christ at the center of your hospitality. When Christ is at the center, it is Christ you are always welcoming.