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Church, Is It Both Entertainment & Hospitality?

Stevemartin“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Hebrews 13:2

Aside from the obvious wow factor in this verse, the idea that we might have interacted with an angelic being, let’s consider hospitality and entertainment within the church.  When I say “within the church,” I mean the practices of these within Christendom.

Forgive me if I sound mean or arrogant here, but I have no desire to entertain anyone or be entertained by anyone.  That is, of course, if by entertainment you mean putting on some sort of show or satiating someone’s boredom.  I do, however, have a deep interest in being hospitable.  That doesn’t come easy for me either, but I see the spiritual value of it.  What is the spiritual value in “entertainment” as it is defined today?

To be fair, I think we’ve taken these two words, as a church, and morphed them into something very different than the author of Hebrews intended.

In Hebrews 13:2, Hospitality (philoxenia): Means, the love of strangers, demonstrating warmth and friendliness.

Entertain (xenizó): Means to receive as a guest or to surprise.

The second meaning “surprise” is certainly interesting and may warrant some further thinking. 

So, do you think there should be less entertainment and more hospitality within the church?

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    1. Tom Schultz February 8, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Yes.

    2. Tim Baker February 12, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      I agree that we have mixed hospitality and entertainment in Christendom. In an effort of Hospitality many have focused on High Entertainment value of gatherings to be kind of an incredible first impression. What typically happens is a culture is created where people seek out that sort of Hospitality (Entertainment) and go where it is given, and given best to the senses. In Essence, the environment or show makes the strong connection.

      I understand I am attributing a lot of genuine desire to be welcoming and non-threatening to new people instead of a genuine desire to be entertaining to all people. I have had several conversations with other leaders in Christendom and it seems like the idea is Get em in the door with attraction, and then get them into a small group for connection.

      I think a welcoming family or gathering of believers is enough to build connections with any new person encountered, regardless of how flashy or showy the setting is. In essence, the love of the people makes the strong connection. This connection is genuine and is probably what people need and want deep down, they just think the quality of the show is what will provide sincerity, when it is at the root, just a show.

    3. EvangelismCoach.org October 27, 2013 at 7:07 am #

      My unchurched friend came to our church the other day.

      I have been witnessing to him about my faith in Christ for the last 10 months in multiple conversations, and due to a new sermon series that he was interested in, he finally set aside his own Sunday priorities to attend our worship service.

      Other than me, he knew not a single person. Even our customs of singing, offering, and sermon were somewhat new to him. Think fish out of water and you might get a sense of his comfort level with all things new.

      Our hospitality helped him enter into a completely different environment and social group. By the end of the morning, several people had visited with him. He felt safe and accepted in our group. He wants to return.

      Genuine hospitality will help your visitor connect relationaly with people.

      Entertainment value will not help your visitor connect. It’s a temporary fix that might keep them coming, but if there are no relationships forming, people will drop out. I did once.

      http://www.evangelismcoach.org/2013/church-got-hospitality-vision/

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