“Oh my gosh! It’s the Bishop!” Those were my first thoughts as I turned toward the coffee bar to refill my travel mug before second service. Our Michigan Area Bishop, Bishop David Bard, was getting himself a cup of coffee in our Welcome Center. Standing beside him was his wife, Julie. After warmly greeting him and assuring him that he was more then welcome to take his coffee into worship, my next thoughts were to wonder about our hospitality.
When they arrived in the parking lot, was it clear which door to enter? Had they been warmly greeted at the door? Where they given clear directions to the Welcome Center and Sanctuary? What about the restrooms - were the signs visible enough? I hoped they were made to feel at home from the moment they walked in, but we were short on volunteers.
I was once told by a seminary professor that as a worship leader, I was to think of my job as a temporary host on behalf of Jesus. It was my responsibility to welcome his guest to worship, to help them feel at ease and the celebration that would bring. Worship is a party that Jesus throws every week and he wants his guest to receive the best hospitality in his home. He expects his worship leaders to provide that.
I think that in some measure, we are called to act as hosts to this wonderful celebration Jesus throws every Sunday. We are the ones Jesus asked to prepare his home for his guests. We extend the invitation to the celebration. We are asked to open the door and welcome his guests as they arrive. What an honor and privilege.
I wonder what Jesus thought of our efforts with Bishop and Mrs. Bard (or any first time guests). I wonder what he will think of our efforts on Easter Sunday, a day when so many people are first time guests in Jesus’ home. Will we be ready? Will they feel welcome and at home? I’m sure you would agree, there is always room for improvement. Let’s get ready to hit it out of the park, not just on Easter Sunday, but every Sunday!