Today is part two of a series on four substitutes for Evangelism.
This may sound funny coming from me, because I write so much on this topic (and even sell two ebooks). But as I’ve consulted with churches, I run into this substitute regularly.
#2: Church Hospitality Ministry.
In many churches, we have substituted evangelism for the nicety of saying “Hello” at a church on Sunday and we call that evangelism.
Many churches have an “Evangelism Committee” that is focused on the church coffee hour and assimilation of newcomers.
Some committees are expanded to include church marketing efforts.
(By the way, What does an Evangelism Committee do?)
Your hospitality ministries support the evangelistic work of the church, but it is not evangelism.
Rather, your hospitality creates the space where evangelism can occur, much like Starbucks has created the third space for life conversations to occur.
Read more about how I define evangelism
The Definition of Church Hospitality
I define church hospitality as
Taking the initiative to welcome others and
inviting others to share in our community life.
This extends beyond our group gatherings for worship but a welcome in:
- our small groups
- our families
- our home
- our lives
This definition is much broader than evangelism.
It speaks to
- Our small group life,
- Our corporate worship life
- How we treat other people in general
- How connected we feel to the local church body
- How we get along as members of the body of Christ,
- The potential depths of our relationship with one another.
Two different goals.
In my ebook on hospitality (How to Welcome Church Visitors) I write:
Evangelism seeks conversion and repentance and deals with salvation and faith.
Hospitality seeks a repeat visit and to help the person connect to the fellowship.
The focus of evangelism is a changed life, while the focus of hospitality is to create a first impression.
These are entirely different goals. They’re mutually supportive, but they’re not a substitute one for the other.
The place for Church Hospitality Committees
Churches should have hospitality committees that oversee the various welcoming functions of the church, but this work is not personal evangelism.
The art of welcoming church visitors is a key component in helping a church fulfill its evangelistic partnership with its members.
Your church members should be confident that their invitees will be warmly welcomed in the midst of a group of strangers.
Your members should be so proud of the welcome that your church gives that it naturally fosters personal invitations.
A hospitality team will oversee all that: reception, greeters and tweaking the system to leave your guests feeling like that they’ve had a great visit.
Your hospitality committee should do at least a quarterly review of your church hospitality systems.
Let me ask you this?
What is the actual role of your church’s evangelism committee?
How can your committee take a more active role in encouraging personal evangelism in the church?
Watch for updates
Each week, I send out new articles to help you grow your your skills in personal evangelism. I include other articles as well on hospitality ministry, greeter ministry and refreshing your vision for church hospitality.