“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
At the September council meeting, I started the devotions by looking at an article written by Brian McLaren. Brian McLaren is an American pastor working in, and studying “post-modern Christianity.” He specializes in the work of the emergent church. He is examining the institutional church and where it is going next as we, in the church world, are facing decline and massive change. The focus of the article were the three things, in his experience, that help churches grow.
1. Members treat each other well. It seems that if there is unresolved conflict in a congregation, visitors can tell. They can tell if the congregation gossips about one another or there is distrust in the congregation.
2. Members can’t shut-up about their church. According to McLaren “members are so inspired on Sunday that they want to talk about it on Monday at the water cooler or on Facebook. Not only that, but they honestly feel, ‘my friends’ lives would be better if they could be part of a community like ours.”
3. Visitors almost always come because members invite them. This is how they come through the door, but visitors stay because the members welcome them, include them and make space for them. He says that “churches that are warm to each other (#1) aren’t necessarily warm to newcomers.” These are interesting things to keep in mind. I think that Augsburg does a pretty great job at welcoming newcomers, but it doesn’t hurt to keep these points in mind as we move ahead in the year. I hope you feel a sense of warmth and a sense of excitement for Augsburg and I also hope that you feel comfortable inviting your friends to join you at church. Peace be with you and the ones you love.
Rev. Nadine Nicholds