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Is it time to move from friendly to radical hospitality?

By Poonam Patodia

SUMMARY: “Radical hospitality” requires intentional invitation and welcome. It goes beyond greeters at the door and handshakes during worship to welcome every person as an honored guest.

Certainly, being a “friendly” church is good. But being in ministry in a confused and hurting world calls for “radical hospitality,” which breathes our core value: people are important to God and to this church. You already have the building blocks.

You are a congregation with Christian hearts and a Wesleyan spirit. And Igniting Ministry, the advertising and welcoming ministry of The United Methodist Church, has the tools. It’s your turn to be radical!

Four quick tips to encourage a more welcoming lifestyle:

  • Encourage the Rule of Three. Talk only to persons you don’t know (or don’t know well) for the first three minutes after worship ends. This is when people without connection may choose to leave.
  • Engage in a “mystery guest audit.” Learn what strangers to the church actually say about your welcoming practices.
  • Work toward becoming one of the more than 700 “Certified Welcoming United Methodist Congregations.”

Identify yourself.
Take your radical hospitality to the streets. Let people know who you are and what you value. Create a buzz about your church with professionally developed advertising resources featuring a message of hope through compelling local advertising

Six helpful advertising tips:

  • Advertise your church using cinema ads.
  • Tie your external advertising together with worship graphics, sermon topics and bulletin covers.
  • Place newspaper ads in the entertainment section, not the religion section.
  • Use radio advertising with billboards for maximum effect, as drivers see and hear your message.
  • Double your buying power by applying for a dollar-for-dollar matching grant through Igniting Ministry.
  • Learn new and effective ideas for inviting and welcoming teens to church.

Is it time to learn more?
We can help. Visit www.umcom.org/rethinkchurch. You’ll discover how to get started and find FREE welcoming resources (including the mystery guest audit, welcoming certification worksheets and Igniting Youth resources). Or call toll free (877) 281-6535.