In the next few posts, I am going to be discussing Nelson Searcy’s excellent assimilation book entitled, Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church. Searcy is the founding pastor of Journey Church in New York City and formerly served as the founding director of the Purpose Driven Community with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. He has personally trained more than 20,000 pastors, church planters, and church leaders through Church Leader Insights. I have been privileged to particpate in one of his 12-month coaching networks–I highly recommend it!
In chapter 2 of his book, Searcy discusses the concept of “biblical hospitality.” Here’s an excerpt:
The Church–your church–truly is a family expecting guests. And you should be ready to show them intentional hospitality when they arrive. While they are in your company, they need to feel comfortable and valued, no matter where they are in their spiritual development. When they leave, be proactive in giving them a return invitation they’ll be hard pressed to refuse. Your church is a representative of the bigger family of God. As you put a system in place to effectively integrate guests into the family, you will be able to fulfill part of the responsibility He placed on you when He prompted them your way. God is honored when you show your guests true biblical hospitality. . . . Assimilation is simply well-planned biblical hospitality through service.
I like the phrase “biblical hospitality” because it reminds us that being hospitable to others is biblical. When God sends guests to our church, He expects us to prepare for their visit, speak the truth in love, and minister to their needs. He expects us to meet them where they are, regardless of their level of spiritual maturity and move them closer to Christ.
As the church, we should put our best foot forward, treat our guests with kindness, and let people know we care.