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Learning a Grace-Filled Approach to Ministry: Hospitality

I didn’t watch the presidential debate on September 29, 2020 between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. I don’t make it my aim to be uninformed, but truthfully I can only handle so much negativity.

I don’t have Facebook on my phone. It’s not that I want to be disconnected from friends and family, but I can only process so many rants…and recipes.

I don’t watch the evening news. I still have young kids in the house and I simply feel that much of the broadcast creates unnecessary anxiety, and I really don’t want to submit my kids to that. It’s not that I’m trying to avoid what’s happening in the world, but I would rather have the gospel inform me first, and trust that if the news is really important…I’ll probably hear about it in the office the next day.

There is no shortage of negative and anxiety-inducing information today. But I feel that I am sensing a growing need for grace.

I feel we have forgotten how important it is to show grace to people. Even this year, with a presidential election on the way, ever-rising racial tensions, and the constant stress of COVID, it has brought out anything but grace in our culture.

Is it possible that the church in America has also lost the art of showing grace to people? I feel that social media has conditioned us to feel the need to react to everything. Does life actually require a reaction to everything? Is it possible that we can simply learn the art of trusting God while we keep our mouths shut? Is it possible that when it’s time to speak up, we do so in a gracious way?

A grace-filled approach enables us to love and serve others like Jesus while at the same time doesn’t undermine ministry through rants, cynicism and reactionary approaches.

James 4:6 says,

“But God gives more grace; so it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (The Kingdom New Testament).

And as I serve and lead in our worship ministry, I simply want to quickly highlight some ways that grace can fill a worship ministry. Although my area of focus is worship ministry, these ways of grace can be applied to just about any arena of ministry.

The first way of grace we’ll talk about is hospitality.

I am blessed with a mom who did this well. Not only was she a great cook and hostess, but she shepherded her company with excellence and compassion. I’m blessed with a wife who does the same. Leah and I love hosting people in our home.

Grace-filled worship ministry will provide a welcome mat for every conversation, every meeting, every event. It’s important that your worship team knows they are welcome to be themselves around the leader. A spirit of hospitality will not only open doors for God’s grace to enter into someone’s heart, but it will keep those doors open long after the conversation or event. Grace has a way of lingering in our hearts.

Effective worship leaders will also maintain a grace-filled spirit of hospitality as they lead their people in worship. A good host does not force their guest to participate, but rather creates a spirit of invitation and encouragement. Grace-filled worship ministry will do that when hospitality is maintained as a value.

Does your style of worship leadership look more like cheerleading? Coercion? Or, does it look more like invitation? Hospitality looks more like an invitation. This is reflected in Psalm 95 as the pattern of invitation is given through the words, “Let us.”

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise” (Psalm 95:1-2, ESV).

Abraham was commended for the hospitality he showed to the three who came to visit him, declaring God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-8). From then on, history has revealed that the Jewish people would hold hospitality as a great value. Centuries later, Jesus teaches on prayer and unpacks the hypothetical situation where a friend comes to your house at midnight and says,

“Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mind on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” Then the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:5-7).

In Jewish culture, that kind of response to a neighbor in need would have been repulsive. Hospitality was a value for the Jewish people.

In the same way, hospitality must be a value for us.

I’ve heard it said that some people feel they don’t have the spirit of hospitality. If that’s you, I won’t argue with you, but I do feel that the Holy Spirit enables us to practice things that don’t come natural to us. Do you have a grace-filled spirit of hospitality when you lead worship? Is your approach in leading people one of invitation and encouragement? If not, ask that God would give you grace to foster of spirit of hospitality.

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