Recently, I had an experience that reminded me about the importance of hospitality. I went to a party where I only knew one other person attending. Unfortunately, that person was not there when I arrived, and no one else greeted me when I walked into the backyard, where a group of people was huddled around a fire-pit, and a few others were clustered together here and there. The host was nowhere in sight, and I felt like an outsider in middle school as I made my way to the snack table.
The night turned out okay in the end, but it caused me to ponder what it might feel like to a newcomer visiting our home, our church, or our small group for the first time. It definitely takes a certain measure of courage to come in to any new environment for the first time, but for many, trying out church is especially daunting.
At Waypoint, we have around 30 people who volunteer once a month to serve on the Welcoming Team. Whitney Granata helps provide leadership to this group. This week, I was able to ask her two questions about this aspect of hospitality and our church:
1. What is the role/mission of the Welcome Team? Why do you think this mission is important?
The vision of the Welcome Team is to “Create a home for members to draw nearer to each other, invite guests to accept Christ and embrace Gospel-centered community and give all who enter Waypoint direction to find the place God has created for them within this church to worship and serve Him.”
This mission is important because we are the first impression of what it means to be welcomed into the family of the Lord. We have the privilege of holding the doors for our brothers and sisters as we gather together in fellowship and worship of Jesus!
2. How can the rest of the congregation support you in showing hospitality to our guests?
The congregation has an equally as important role as the Welcome Team! Many who have visited, including those who later went on to join Waypoint, share that one of the biggest things that set Waypoint apart from other churches was the sincerity and kindness of the people at Waypoint. They weren’t just talking about the Welcome Team! The Welcome Team may be the first faces, but what people experience once they pass the Welcome Team is what sticks with them. The intentionality of members wanting to know others and their sincerity is what people remember most and love most about our family. Reaching the Triangle and the Nations happens both outside of the church as well as right inside our church home!
Lastly, I would add that taking the shuttle, when possible, is an act of hospitality because it leaves parking spaces for our guests. We would hate for someone to not come through our doors simply because there was no place to park their car.
We have been blessed with a wonderful community and the important task of inviting others into this family. May we joyfully open our doors and our lives to those whom the Lord brings in!