Ken Hemphill: ENGAGING EVERY GUEST WITH INTENTIONALITY
My wife loves to entertain. She looks forward to any and every opportunity to have guests visit our home. I think she makes up holidays just to have another chance to invite someone over for lunch, dinner, coffee, or tea.
The days and hours prior to the visit are sometimes a tiny bit hectic, but generally everything is ready in time. My wife lovingly prepares the home to receive our guests. She vacuums, dusts, and insures that everything is in its proper place. She either cuts flowers from our yard or purchases them if they are not readily available in the yard. She displays them in prominent places where they will be most enjoyed by our guests. Needless to say, we both are involved in the preparation of the home, both inside and out. My task is to mow, edge, and weed so that the yards looks its very best. As we near the deadline, everyone in the family is called upon to do “whatever it takes” to make our guests feel at home.
If we are having a meal together, the table is set and the food is prepared. We always attempt to give our guests the best we can afford. If they are staying the night, we want their room to be fresh and prepared before they arrive. We want them to know that we have been expecting them and we are honored that they chose to visit with us. Further, we want them to have such a delightful visit that they will come again.
When the day of their arrival comes, we greet our guests with a smile and a hug (when appropriate). If we have several guests, I often greet them in the driveway and help them park their vehicle. Our driveway is pretty steep, parking is at a premium, and backing down our driveway is a challenge during the daytime, much less when it is dark. I help them park their car because I don’t want a great evening to be spoiled by a challenging adventure trying to negotiate one’s way down the drive when other cars are present.
Once the guests have arrived, we invite them into our home, take their coats, and make them feel welcome. If we have a large group, we make sure that everyone is introduced. On some occasions we will actually provide name tags to help people feel comfortable around persons they have just met. We attempt to seat people with someone they will enjoy visiting with. We always give our guests the best seats and serve them first.
Can you identify with any part of this story? Did you notice that everything was done with the guest in mind and with clear intentionality? Every church should strive to treat every guest as a gift from God. In truth, Jesus indicates that when we care for the least of the least, we are actually ministering to Him (Mt. 25:40).
Ken Hemphill is the author of several books related to Sunday School. He will be speaking at several of our All Star Sunday School Training events. We have several dates we are looking for dates in the Fall. See http://allstarsundayschool.com/