August is an important month in the life of our church. We expect to welcome another huge crowd for vacation Bible School on August 8-11. Throughout the month, we welcome back our friends who have spent their summer traveling. All the school programs start to ramp up, with sports and band camps. First-year college students move in on the 19th, followed the next two days by everyone else, and classes start on Monday, the 22nd. So we might see a student or two on the 21st for worship, and a few more on the 28th (except those who make a trip home for all the things they forgot).
All of these August happenings are hospitality opportunities for the church, which probably explains why I’m preaching specifically about hospitality on July 31, and August 7 and 14. I want to make sure we’re ready.
The rest of this message was originally written for folks who are already “church people.” So if you’re just checking us out at the moment, I hope you’ll understand… and maybe you’ll think about becoming one of those crazy church people sometime!
Preaching is all good and well, but sooner or later we have to do a few things! We’re going to start by practicing on college students, and then hopefully grow this to include anyone who comes to the church for the first time. So, here are the things for which I need volunteers between now and then:
- Make a strong commitment to befriend one college student. This means:
- providing them a Sunday lunch, perhaps at your home, at least once a month while they’re here at school.
- knowing their name, and using it, and inviting (not obliging) them to sit with you.
- knowing their birthday, and what’s important to them.
- contacting them if they’re not at church, saying you missed them (but not guilting them!)
- For everyone’s wellbeing, make sure you’re not alone with a student at home or in your car. Invite someone else as well!
- Keep those monthly potlucks coming! Encourage students and all our guests to invite friends on days with potlucks!
- As we did last year, I hope that the college will share with us a list of students to whom we can send a welcome card. So we’ll need writers!
As Lois Fennimore has done a good job of telling us: hospitality is everyone’s job! One of the things we’ll talk about this month is the skill of having a better conversation with someone you’re meeting for the first time. That’s not an easy thing to do, and it doesn’t come naturally to me, even after twenty-one years as a pastor! But it’s good for God and for the community if we can work on it a bit.
God bless you!