Hospitality to Pastors & their Families

Naima

If you have been a member of a church for any length of time, you will have experienced the welcoming of a new Pastor or staff member to your church.   A Pastor search is such a process that for many of us we are as relieved as we are excited about welcoming this new person or family into our body of believers.  For the incoming Pastor and family, this could have been a long road too, waiting for God to guide their steps to your door.  Excitement and anxiousness combined, they are walking into a family of believers that they barely know.

My sister in Christ, co-laborer in the faith, Naima Johnston-Bush and her husband answered such a call.  They packed up their house in Florida and set off for Leesville First Assembly of God, in Kingdom service.  To my joy, on a Monday morning, I woke up to this picture and her words:

Naima

Our first Sunday at our new church and the ladies Ministry gave me an old fashioned “pounding”. They pounded me with God’s love and blessed our home with lots of great cleaning supplies, canned goods and boxed items. I won’t need cleaning supplies for the next six months.   ~Naima Johnston-Bush

First, I just want to shout out to the Women’s Ministry at Leesville for welcoming a family so beautifully.  Thank you for the love you showered on my friend.

Second, when I saw this picture… knowing we were heading into the topic of hospitality… I immediately asked permission to share.  THIS is such a wonderful way to display hospitality to new Pastors, Staff Members, and their families.

In all of my years in the church, I’ve seen plenty of people showered with gifts as they were leaving.  Moves, retirements, volunteers called into fulltime ministry or missions elsewhere, etc. have been opportunities to thank people for dedicated service to our church body and an encouragement and provision for those stepping out in faith.

I am not sure I’ve ever seen this kind of outpouring on someone who was coming into the body.  It may be possible things like this were done quietly among the existing staff members, gift cards and helping unpack.  In this occasion, it was the Women’s Ministry who stepped up and said how can we bless this new home?

It brought me to question how do we as Women’s Ministries let the women who are leading in our churches know that we appreciate them?  But also, ask myself, are we doing a good job welcoming in the wives and children that packed up everything and walked away from their friends and family in order to follow their husband’s call in to ministry?

For the last several years, I have participated in a group of Pastor’s wives (even though I am not one) in order to have a better understanding of how ministry affects the wives and family of Pastors.  I’m so thankful that the group welcomed me in, even though I’m not a PW… because it has been eye opening.

When I hear their stories, the good… bad… and the ugly… I just know that we could be doing a better job.

So, whether you want to share here … or talk among your Women’s Ministry teams, let’s ask and discuss the following questions:

  1.  Are we showing hospitality to our Pastor and Staff wives?
  2. How do we welcome in a new Pastor and his family?  What could we do, if we are not currently doing anything?
  3. What does hospitality for these women look like long term, once they are settled or have been in the fold for years?

Good hospitality makes a person not only feel welcomed through the doors, but that we are wanted to stay for the long term.  It shows a person they are seen, loved, and makes them feel cared for.  We minister to their spirit, their hearts, their minds, and even their households when we love well.

Be a Presence in Your Community

emptytables

Years ago, my Pastor made a point to our congregation on what kind of impact he wanted our church to make on our community.  He said that if our doors had to shut today, he would want our community to miss us tomorrow.  There are churches and ministries that open and close all of the time, but how often does their absence go noticed?  Does the community even notice they are gone?

Just last year, a friend and her family began to faithfully respond to the call toward International Missions.  They gathered a group of local friends together to organize a fundraising event.  A location was picked, local businesses rented booth space or sponsored the food and games areas.  They reached out to the local churches and asked if their worship band would be willing to donate time, playing just a set of music during the day.  In exchange the church could set up a tent and hand out information about their church to people from the community who passed through.  What an amazing opportunity to 1) support missions work, 2) network with other churches, and 3) introduce themselves to the people in the community who may not have a church home.

ONE church responded.  One out of HUNDREDS.  I was shocked.  You’ll be happy to know The Women’s Ministry Council was there.

wmcpix

So, let me turn the question on to your ministry… how does your ministry present itself to the community?  Are you interested in serving your church only?  Or would you be willing to step out into the community and support another ministry, that is not your own?  What holds you back?

When a local church hosts a simulcast event for a well known speaker, why are we not carpooling our women to these events?  Or, at minimum, promoting it to our women?  Are we afraid to lose our women to another church?  Is our calendar too full, not providing enough room for divine appointments to come along our way?  When the community needs us, are we too busy to step out and say…  “Here we are, how can we help?”

Women’s Ministry is an amazing opportunity to not only serve the women in our own churches, but other churches and the community at large.  Big churches can come along side small churches, welcoming them into our Women’s Ministry events.  We can make space for the churches who lack the space.  Churches that have been blessed with resources, like Women’s Bible Studies, can share resources with those who lack.  Small ministries can band together, serving long side each other and sharing the load.  All of us, ministries of any size, can work together in serving our community.

What if?

  • What if all of our women’s ministries grouped up for a Habitat For Humanity building project?
  • What if all of our women’s ministries alternated weeks, providing meals to Molly’s House in Stuart?
  • What if all of our ministries came together to make blessing bags for the homeless?
  • What if all of our ministries fellowshipped together at local park, praying for our county?

What… if….