There is something special about the ministry of hospitality. When you experience an environment that has been created with you in mind - food and drink prepared, a warm and clean space, and friends to enjoy it with - there isn’t much better. We all crave this sense of belonging and welcome. As I oversee the ministries of Gather at CLA (First Impressions, Worship, Tech), I am reminded of how these are ministries of hospitality. We seek to welcome people into environments where people can meet with God.
The soul’s deep craving for God is heard clearly in Psalm 42:
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?”
For the many of us who gather regularly at CLA, as well as for those who come through our doors as a last resort, our collective hunger is expressed through this question, “When can I go and meet with God?” In the ministries of Gather we respond to this by saying, “How about here? How about now? We have made a place for you.”
As I sit and write this there is machinery grinding away in the background as our front lobby undergoes a renovation. We felt that the front door of our Sunday gatherings needed to reflect the welcome of Christ more effectively. This past week a team of volunteers removed the imposing Guest Services desk, opening up the lobby. The carpet has been removed and the concrete beneath is being polished to a bright and fresh finish to match the updated paint from this past winter. A much more open and brighter front door to our gatherings is underway - because environment matters in hospitality. The friendly and helpful people who serve on our Greeter, Usher, and Guest Services teams all strive to make our CLA gatherings feel like home.
Darrel Johnson of Regent College and The Way church has said, “Lights and haze are this generation’s stained glass.” (Johnson is a Boomer) The architecture of worship spaces has changed over time, but the best ones have been designed to achieve the same goal: creating an environment that helps worshipers meet with God. Our tech ministry works diligently to create environments, both in-person and online, that do just this. Please thank and encourage them for their servant-hearts.
Our worship teams strive to lead our church in songs and moments that give vocabulary to the deep cries of our souls, and tell the story of the gospel of Christ. When our hearts are weary we need language to remind ourselves of the Lord’s unfailing love expressed in Jesus. As the Psalmist says
“My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you …
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me.
A prayer to the God of my life.”
I am blessed to work with the excellent team of volunteers and staff in our Gather ministries. I want to invite you to participate in one of our Gather ministries if you have yet to find a place to serve at CLA. You can reach out to me at email@example.com.
Blessings in Christ,
Associate Pastor - Gather