Spiritual Formation

love books, collect books, teach books, and admit it has been a lifelong pas-sion to read. So when my brother-in-law, who is a pastor, came for a visit and was excited about a book that taught Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, I took notice. One reason was that I had read that same book several years ago but in the busyness of life had put it on a top shelf. I pulled it out this weekend and be-gan to see how the author’s ideas are dovetailing with our recent “Equip” confer-ence and at the recent Leadership conference. Read the titles of the chapters and you will see what I mean. “The Practice of Radical Hospitality”, “The Practice of Passionate Worship”, “The Practice of Intentional Faith Development”, “The Practice of Risk-Taking Mission and Service”, “The Practice of Extravagant Gen-erosity”, “Excellence and Fruitfulness”.
Here are a few ideas from the first chapter on Radical Hospitality. It stems from Romans 15:7 “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomes you, for the glory of God.” We have a great opportunity to welcome new folks who come into our church doors, showing them our building so they are comfortable, finding out their story and telling them ours so we get to know each other, introducing them to others who have similar interests and can help them make more friends, following up later to find out how their experience was at our church, making sure they have opportunity to plug into small groups, being intentional each time you see them to greet and check in with them. It is about giving individual attention to a new person, and going out of our way to include them in our circles, giving care to let all our conversations be open to everyone around us. Radical Hospitality also includes the welcome of our facility. Its beauty, upkeep, cleanliness, and atmosphere all say volumes about our care of the people who come through the doors.
I am looking forward to each Sunday morning, Wednesday night, Bible study class, and church event to meet new friends and hope they will find a spiritual home at First Baptist. My prayer is that they discover for themselves the unending richness of life in Christ as they become part of our church family. Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you wel-comed me.” Matthew 25:35. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
-Sharon Kidd

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