12: Leave the Red Carpet Out

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

Since this is the final Hospitality Training update it seemed only fitting to finish where we began, with this beautiful verse from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.  As you reflect back on a yearlong focus on radical hospitality I hope you see many positives and I hope you still use this verse to keep your purpose grounded.

The logical question right now is, “So, what’s next?”  As is often the case, the logical question is the best place to begin so now it’s time to gather all of those who have worked on parish hospitality during the past year and ask that very question.  It’s the perfect time to take a candid look at where you started, where you’ve come and where you need to go next.  Radical hospitality is a process that evolves and changes as the parish grows and changes so it isn’t something you check off a list and tuck away.  Right about now, a great celebration is in order because you’ve been committed to a very worthwhile goal and successes should be celebrated, efforts recognized and people appreciated.  The key component of this celebration is Mass, Adoration and prayer.  It’s the perfect time to thank God for blessing your work and to seek his guidance as you move into year two of shining his light and welcoming his children.

Most of the books and articles written about parish transformation include accounts of experiences gleaned from visiting other churches that were doing hospitality really well.  Maybe it’s time for a field trip to keep ideas and plans fresh.  Here are a few more things to consider…

  • Survey the people you serve; what do they like, what do they need
  • Who’s on the team? Who’s doing what and how can we reach out to involve more people.
  • Think differently.  Maybe an entire family can serve as greeters, who wouldn’t love to get their bulletin handed to them by a smiling, adorable 5 year old.  Be creative!
  • Look at each age group in your parish to make sure each is being invited to help and provided with opportunities to grow in faith
  • Go back through each of the twelve follow ups and discuss where you are as a parish on each topic

The apostles didn’t have just one way of doing things and they didn’t form an entire church in just one year.  They were constantly trying new things, meeting new people and offering new insights.  They worked together and they prayed together; we should do the same. 

Thank you for faithfully embarking and continuing the journey to Entertain Angels.

In Christ,

Adam Janke & Sheri Wolhfert