The Power Of Hospitality


A few weeks ago, we experienced something new at River Valley Church. We had the privilege to host the Global Leadership Summit at our Apple Valley Campus. Over 500 business and ministry leaders from all over the south metro came to be inspired by world-class leadership teaching. 

Though this isn’t my first Global Leadership Summit, this is the first year my Summit started with an early morning prep to meet with our amazing River Valley Lifeteam volunteers who would welcome and host the hundreds of guests about to walk through our doors. 

Something significant occurred to me: What would happen - what could happen - if these business leaders were so impacted by experiencing our team’s hospitality that it changed the way they ran their companies? What kind of impact could we make? How far-reaching can hospitality like that be?

@@What kind of impact could we make? How far-reaching can hospitality like that be?@@

During the Summit, Horst Schulze, former CEO of Ritz-Carlton, spoke about customer service as a way to develop customer loyalty. Even the Disney Institute created a phrase called Guestology for market research on how to discover and serve customers…

But it was Jesus who first said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Why would we as the Church not lead the way in hospitality?  Wasn’t it something the very Person we model our lives after commanded of us and lived out himself? 

The difference is in the mindset: “coming to church” as opposed to “being the church.”  

Some people come to church. They enjoy the environment, the music, the friends, even the teaching. And while they will even claim it as “their church,” it’s just a stop in their weekly routine— like the gym or the grocery store. 

Then on the other side of that coin are those who have decided to “be the church.”  For these people, church isn’t just something to meet their own needs.  It’s something bigger than just themselves; something to be a part of, to meet the needs of others. Those of us who have committed to this lifestyle also realize that by serving others, so many of our own needs are met. 

Places like Disney and Ritz-Carlton want you to have the best possible experience at their establishmentsso you will come back! They want you come back and to tell your friends so they will come back— and bring their kids! Because you have a great experience, customer loyalty has been developed. Anytime you are ready to spend money for vacation, they are the first places on your mind. That’s not wrong, that’s good business!  

Now, how much more focused should we be as the Church? It’s not someone’s vacation dollars we care about, but their entire eternity! We cannot let people walk through the doors of our churches and get all the way to their seats and just passively hope that the music or the message gets to them.  We get to step up and BE THE CHURCH from the moment they step foot in the church building! 

It’s one thing to hear the gospel message and to sing about freedom. Even more powerful is the experience of a living example and relationship with other believers.  We are part of the message!

@@Christ came to serve, not to be served.  So let’s show the world what true servanthood and hospitality is really like!@@ When people walk out of church changed, they’ll change their world!