4 Ways To be A HOST At Church
At church, there are two types of people: Members and Guests. Members have joined the church through a commitment to worship, connect, and serve. Guests are checking the church out to see if it is a place they could see themselves worshiping, connecting and serving. Since every member began as a guest, this is a GREAT thing!
One has found, the other is looking. One is invested, the other is investigating. One is all-in, the other is holding back. One is hosting, the other is being hosted.
Or at least it should be like this.
In reality, many members of church still approach going to church like they are the guest. I have done it and would guess you probably have too.
It’s my church so I go to MY worship service and MY small group and talk to MY friends on MY time to get what I want out of MY Sunday. But as we grow to be more like Jesus, we must remember Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The attitude Jesus brought into every decision of His life is seen in Philippians 2:3-8. He thought of others before Himself. Jesus was a host, not a guest.
Here are 4 ways to be a host, instead of a guest, when you come to church…
Head into the crowd
A guest waits to be approached. A host approaches. Our culture continually sprints towards isolation. Don’t do it! Be the one who invites others in. Invite in to the conversation. In to the coffee line. In to the small group room. Go in to church and don’t go to your seat…go to people. A host spends more time talking to and learning about people they don’t know than talking to people they already know.
Open the best spots
A guest deserves the comfortable spot. A host takes the uncomfortable spot. Park far from the door. Leave open parking spaces for guests and those who physically need to park closely. Sit toward the middle of of your row in the worship center. Everyone loves an isle seat, so save them for the guests! Basically think, ‘What do I want?’ and then offer that to a guest. That is what you do when you see yourself as a host.
Serve the body
A guest is served. A Host serves. Find a place to do your part in making church happen for another family. When my family pulls into the parking lot, it is not to experience church for ourselves, but to make church happen for someone else. And yet we leave filled and refreshed EVERY time! Children’s workers, Preschool workers, guest service volunteers, ushers, parking lot greeters, small group leaders, people who deliver mugs to first-time guests…the list goes on. Come to church so someone else can experience church.
A guest observes. A host owns. Listen long enough to how people talk about their church and they will show if they are a host or a guest. “Well THEY need to…”, “I don’t like THEIR…”, “I think YOU should…”. These are all phrases of a guest and, sadly, phrases many of us church members say. “I think WE could…”, “I would be WILLING to…”, “We love when OUR…”. A host takes requests from others. A host sees themselves as a part of solutions. A host sees opportunity to be better at connecting people to God, Others and His Mission. A guest gives requests. A guest expects others to solve issues. A guest sees limitations to connection. I see it as my job to help my church love people well, not the job of someone else.
Dr. Tim Elmore in his book Habitudes: the Art of Connecting With Others offers this scale to help leaders evaluate if they are acting as hosts or guests.
I hope you can experience the joy of arriving at church to give, not get. I promise you will find you get much more in return than you could have ever imagined.