Radical Hospitality Experts are At Your Service

Date Posted: 2/12/2015

Rev. Jack Womack, Hope Community UMC, Pasadena and fellow TAC committee members have expertise to help your church be more welcoming—and they are ready to share it – for FREE!
It’s never too early to ramp up hospitality for weekly worship in preparation for the high-attendance Easter season. And now, that just got easier, thanks to the passionate members of the Radical Hospitality Committee, under the TAC Center for Congregational Excellence, who are eager to help congregations improve in this area if they so desire.
According to committee chairman Rev. Jack Womack of Hope Community UMC in Pasadena, “Radical hospitality or evangelism is something we hear about often.  It is a description of the ways in which we invite persons into relationship with Jesus Christ.  The ways in which we offer hospitality or evangelize include the way our facility looks on the outside as well as the inside. It is also about how we act and react to those that walk through our doors or park in our parking lot.”
While it is very helpful to have appropriate signage indicating where to park, where to go to the office and where activities are taking place, he believes true “radical hospitality” is also much more. “Newcomers are sensitive to the ways in which we welcome children to the nursery, for example, or make them welcome in worship,” he adds. The methods that churches use to obtain information to be able to build ongoing relationships with guests are also a critical element. “It is important to be aware that the language we use in the bulletin and beyond, the events we talk about and the worship experience itself always keeps the new person in mind and is intentionally focused on inviting them to deeper connection with our church and with Jesus Christ.”
In fact, this aspect of church vitality is so critical that members of this committee are eager to be a free resource to any church in the Texas Annual Conference. “We want to invite any church interested in taking their hospitality efforts to the next level to contact me for insight and assistance in accomplishing that goal,” he adds. “I believe every church has possibilities and something that is their significant strength.  Through the conference committee on Radical Hospitality we want to help churches identify and use the strengths that they already have.  Realizing what strengths are already available and developing the individual church strengths not only builds confidence, but it creates a critical mass of success that carries over into the other activities and programs of the church.  There is something that each church is able to do better than 10,000 other churches.  We want to be available to churches in the conference to assist them in strengthening those attributes first and foremost.”
Jack recently encouraged a pastor of a rural church that was struggling due to the passing of several members. “All of the committees within Congregational Excellence want to be available to work with pastors and churches to help them wherever they are,” notes Jack. “When we focus on all of the things we cannot do, we are taking time away from the things we do well, and small rural churches can provide an intimate, loving environment that is much more challenging for larger churches.”
Easter is Coming
With the Lenten and Easter season underway, churches across the conference are likely to have a greater influx of guests in the next few months. Some of the suggestions for radical hospitality might also include:

  • Providing guest information – and even survey preview information -- online
  • Welcoming guests from the pulpit
  • Encouraging members to sit in the middle and free up the end seats for newcomers
  • Creating easy, nonthreatening entry points to the community via small groups or service projects
  • Keep the campus and buildings sparkly clean for “company”
To access one of the Radical Hospitality Committee “consultants” contact the chairman Rev Jack Womack jackwomack@umcmail.us