“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church . . .” –Jesus (Matthew 18:17)
–Jesus expected His church to allow verbal input from those in the congregation. In the passage above Jesus is telling how He wants us to handle a conflict between people. (See the earlier verses to understand the entire process.) The last step involves bringing the issue up in a church meeting. However, we have made it where it is very difficult to obey this direct command of Jesus because our traditional church format doesn’t allow people the freedom to bring up an issue or to spontaneously interact with one another in a church meeting.
–Perhaps we could allow people more freedom to obey Scripture commands and to receive the wisdom, comfort, and hospitality of their fellow Christ-followers in church meetings.
So why are we so reluctant to allow participation in church meetings? Perhaps that is because spontaneity in church meetings wont work unless God, Himself, shows up and personally directs the meeting. If the participation is just human spontaneity and opinions, without the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the meeting can break down into disorder and confusion. However, when the living God personally shows up and leads people to share in a church meeting, awe is in the air and people are amazed at how the meeting beautifully comes together.
In that Spirit-led setting Christpitality breaks out. I read a definition of hospitality as “ushering people into deeper relationship with each other and with Christ.” That kind of hospitality requires that we daily maintain a deep, personal relationship with Christ, not as a religious figure, but as the intimately present, resurrected Jesus. Then our hospitality becomes Christpitality and the living Jesus manifests His presence to the hearts of those we serve and those we worship with.
Experience a heaping helping of Christpitality every Sunday at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, Tennessee 37207 at 10:45 am.
For more about Christian hospitality, check out the new book, Holistic Hospitality, by Captain Andy Miller III, published by The Salvation Army. It is available at Amazon.