Friendly vs. Hospitable

80s hospitality

A lot of people claim to have friendly churches. But we have to ask, “Friendly…compared to what?”

Most would avoid saying, “our church is unfriendly.”

Yet, friendliness is distinctly different from hospitality.

• A friendly church might–by policy or administration–greet newcomers

• A friendly church may staff a church information center

• A friendly church might include a greeting time within the order of the worship.

But, this is surface-level hospitality.

Friendliness involves a, “Hello, how are you?” But, hospitality waits for the real answer, and offers an invitation to break bread together… Really, to do life together.

• After church, are folks staying afterwards to visit, or do they rush off to their kids’ soccer matches, NFL games, or other obligations?

• Are spiritual siblings, sort of, shooed out so the Sexton can lock up the building?

• Can congregants make and share a meal at church, a snack, or put on a pot of coffee, without the deacons getting nervous about clean up and carpet stains?

• Does the building, and the programs and schedules therein eclipse the human beings for whom the church exists?

Shouldn’t church feel (be) comfortable–like an inviting hearth and home? Should it not have the kitchen and the living room vibe, where people feel a bit saddened to leave, at the end, because they have enjoyed a time with people who love them. A place where people don’t look at their watch, but instead comment on the pity it is that time went so quickly. A. hospitable. place.

What is the culture of your church?

If you could change something, what would it be?

What does hospitality look and behave like, [to you]?

Thanks for your ideas.


2 responses to “Friendly vs. Hospitable

  1. The willingness to commit time for others makes the difference between friendly and hospitable. Care for relationships can’t be limited to 2 or 3 minutes during the order of worship. Great points to remember for all of us.

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

  2. One thing that ‘secured’ our commitment to our church was that after only being there for a few months, our senior pastor knew us by name….first and last names. In a church of over 3,000 people, that was quite significant to me.

    I grew up in a small church, where there was a lot of connection. So, now going to a large church one of the things we were concerned with was just that – being connected. It wasn’t long after we started going there that the connection was intentional and strong.

    Jesus connects with people…He meets their needs. The Church needs to do the same. And not just spiritual needs…..