Practical Action for a Vital Future – host and be hosted

In our daily lives we often meet strangers – be it in a shop, at a filling station, some-one knocking on our front door, or the passenger sitting next to us on a plane flight. Many of us keep a safe distance and do not get too involved with unknown people, knowing that we will probably never see him or her again. However, such a stranger – crossing our road – may be in dire need of an uplifting, supporting word from our side. Alternatively, such a stranger crossing our path, might be Jesus himself, com-ing with a helpful message – or to give new direction to our life. God in fact sends strangers into our lives with a purpose.
This theme of – host and be hosted – was the central topic of a one-day seminar held in Stellenbosch (end of June) under the leadership of Prof Pat Keifert (USA). The Biblical text which guided us was Genesis 18 – where Abraham played host to three strangers who had a life-giving message for him and his wife, Sarah.
I learned anew that we were created for life among strangers, where we can show our hospitality and where we are encouraged to cross cultural borders and leave our comfort zone. Strangers don’t care until they know how much we care for them. Open up boundaries and nurture trust. Be bold and invite outsiders in!

Furthermore, I greatly valued the following challenging points that were made:
A congregation which lives in a bounded set, is destined to die, as opposed to one with porous boundaries which opens its doors to strangers (missional out-reach).
Build relationships and not numbers. Communities are built by sincere relation-ships such as in cell groups which show caring and value the importance of prayer.
The future of a congregation does not lie with the pastor, but with four or five committed Christians who take the lead within a congregation.
God has a purpose with the Cape Church congregations. That is why they still exist.
Greater involvement of the laity in church services is a strong recommendation. Don’t leave everything to the pastor!

– E-G.B