There was one experience that I cannot get out of my head. During a staff meeting with all of the work team adults, worship team, and leadership…one of the college students stood up just as we were about to close the meeting and said, “I just have to say something.” Not knowing this young man well, we had no idea where this was headed. His words are still filling my heart. To begin, he described a difficult past that he has come through; his dad left him at 16 and he was homeless in the final years of high school until one of our church families heard his story and invited him to live in their home. This family did not know him at all before this. Then, the young man described his perception of Christianity, describing it as a “tool people use to get what they want or to manipulate others.” Or at least that has always been his experience. Until, he met this family that brought him in and then ultimately in the love that was being extended to him at UM Army. He looked around the room and pointed at people saying things like, “I am thankful for the way you give me a high-5 and talk to me even when I am off standing by myself,” or to another person, “you continually ask me how things are going and make me feel genuinely welcome.” Finally, he told us “this week I have seen what Christianity can be…I am not sure about faith or what I believe yet, but there is something different about this group.”
He has no idea the impact those words have on me and I am sure others in ministry can relate. We want so badly for our community that God has called us to, to be this very thing—a community that is soaked in hospitality and even to the person who is not sure what they believe…that we might stand out to them for the right reasons. I am proud of our UM Army camp, and I am proud of KUMC because we are a community that loves deeply, serves sacrificially, and in all—invites others to participate. And isn’t that the most evangelistic thing we can do? Invite people to be a part of a people. If Christ is in our fellowship, He will direct the rest.
How can you share radical hospitality with someone this week?