Hospitality is Key to Faith Formation!
By Rev. Cindy Marino
Faith Formation is something we at Grace have been closely exploring. Our newly-refurbished gathering space, scheduled to be completed next month, will better reflect our belief that relationships lie at the core of our ability to learn and grow together in faith. The love we share with others grows out of the loving relationships we have with one another, extended from God’s loving relationship with us.
Hospitality is the number one way to share our faith in relationship with newcomers and younger families. The Barna Group recently published the results of the second of three studies it is conducting about the way private and public faith shapes American Life. The first study looked at individuals and their spiritual lives in a digital age. The last will study churches as communities of action. The second report, just released, explores “Families as the Households of Faith.”
Here are two of the trends Barna found, as summarized:
• Millennials are more likely than any other age group to find value in opening their homes to others and sharing generosity through hospitality.
• Faith formation is connected to and increases with a spirit of hospitality.
These findings are exciting as we continue to adapt the activities and ministries of Grace to better accomplish our mission of reaching younger families for Christ. As we live into the newly renovated gathering space at Grace UMC, we will want to keep it open and available for impromptu conversation. We’ll make sure to keep it ‘schedule-free;’ avoiding the temptation to lock it down for the use of any one group. That would only defeat the purpose of having an open-use space at the ready to offer hospitality.
As we prepare to celebrate the ultimate hospitality Jesus displays for us in the washing of the feet of his disciples, in rising from the dead to represent us before God and in returning to guide us through the Holy Spirit, we give thanks for those with the gift of hospitality. We pray that no one will ever doubt whether they belong at Grace UMC.
May the celebration of Easter find you feeling the excitement of new life in Christ and in relationship with one another through Grace UMC!