I tend to agree with Bill Hybels. When we look at the local church the spiritual gift of leadership is critical to all other spiritual gifts working and deployed effectively. I’m becoming increasingly aware of how the spiritual gift of hospitality profoundly affects people. Let me tell you why!
On this the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks it’s fitting to discuss what happened in Gander, Newfoundland that day. As I said in my Sunday Evening Reflections Louise & I read the book The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede. It reminded me of the book by Bob Green, Once Upon a Town; The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen. In both of these books the authors recount what a simple act of hospitality can do in the life of another. It can literally change that person’s life. It changes the life of the person showing hospitality as well.
I love what the CEO of Hugo Boss said when his company was going to send a corporate jet to pick him up in Gander. His reply was, “No.” He said he wanted to stay with these people and the people of Gander. That he was a part of something bigger than himself. What an observation! Thirty-eight planes landed in Gander on 9/11/01 with 4800 passengers aboard. The town of Gander has just less than 10,000 in population. The people of Gander extended themselves in ways that changed the lives of those 4,800 people in countless ways. Stories were told of people walking into shelters set up around the city asking who wanted to take a shower. These people would take “plane people” home with them and give them the run of their homes. It was amazing what happened that week. Read the book!
So how do we as leaders nurture this gift? I think it’s important to seek out this gift in others and fan those inclinations in them. As leaders in the local church, I believe we need to make sure we have an area called guest services. Get your people with hospitality gifts to be parking lot attendants, greeters, ushers and refreshment servers. I believe that will go much further in reaching people for Jesus than almost anything else you will do. Get your people with hospitality gifts on the front line of greeting and caring for people in your church. Resource them well and encourage them. If you read information about first impressions for local churches you will find stats that a person decides whether to return to your church within ten minutes of setting foot on your property. That’s is probably before those people even get to your worship center. So, why not have them interacting with people who have spiritual gifts of hospitality. It’s the best gift you can give to your guests and regular attendees!
That’s this leader’s view!