We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. (3 John 8)
Known as the town “Rats,” the group of young teenagers roamed the park, business area, and neighborhoods. A favorite gathering place was the church parking lot. Many town and church committee conversations occurred trying to decide how to deal with the Rats. Eventually, two couples from the church agreed to open the town pool hall to the youth, and Friday nights were spent building relationships with the unchurched group.
After the group leader accepted Christ at the pool hall, the youth were invited to Sunday service. That Sunday service happened to be followed by a church potluck and it was there that hospitality changed multiple lives. The youth in their dirty jeans and long hair were escorted by the youth leader down the back stairway into the kitchen. Waiting there were the cooks, a group of mature women dressed in their Sunday best. The groups could not have been more different.
When the women smilingly filled the youths’ plates to overflowing, defenses were lowered, and a church family was formed. One boy asked, “Do you eat like this every Sunday?”
Most of the youth accepted Christ and became active in the church. The women, their biggest cheerleaders, watched them grow into adults. The eternal life the youth gained was reciprocated by the new life their presence brought into the church.
Extend the gift of hospitality to persons different than you.
Janelle Vernon serves The Wesleyan Church as executive director of Communication and Administration, general secretary, and publisher for Wesleyan Publishing House.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.