I don’t know what kind of magical congregation we’re dealing with, but we just went to three services at Living Streams Church. We were a bit nervous about having a couple of full services and one super empty. We thought the middle service would be overcrowded and stressful. All of our worries ended up being a waste of time. Somehow our congregation split themselves equally into our 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m. services all by themselves.
I mean—seriously—this group of people keeps amazing me. They are such a joy to shepherd and to be a part of.
Our parking lot situation had been getting stressful—but last Sunday it was easy-going. Our children’s classes had been maxed out and on the verge of chaos—but now it was enjoyable and smooth. And our main sanctuary felt full enough, but also had room for new people that we hope to find and bring into our family.
While thinking about the potential of our new-found empty spaces, I heard a phrase in a podcast that has me stirred up. The phrase is a definition of the word hospitality.Here it is: “Hospitality is creating environments that address the false identities we have assigned to others.”
The reality is, we all have many conscious and subconscious thoughts about people we don’t know. We fill our knowledge gaps with so many ideas put into our minds by media, movies and news. But hospitality is when one person creates a moment where a statistic can become a story, and a stranger can become a neighbor. Mr. Rogers had it right all along.
When I think about the new empty space created by our move to three services, I think of what Jesus wants to happen in that space. I believe that space was created for some of the many people in this city that are strangers to the love and fellowship of Jesus Christ and his family.
I’m hoping that we at Living Streams will learn the art of true hospitality; that we will create environments that address the false identities we place on others (as well as the ones we carry upon ourselves); that we would create moments in our day-to-day lives which cause people to want to know more about Jesus and His love; then, in time, that they would come to a Sunday morning service and see the full family of God united, strong and full of life.