Grand Rapids, Michigan
To empower the congregation and local community in the practice of biblical hospitality in order to reshape the worship experience to be more hospitable by engaging in outdoor worship and community meals.
Summarize your grant project and how it will address a need in your worshiping community.
We are a small neighborhood church that cares about our neighbors but does not always know how to engage them, particularly in worship. We have been challenged by the idea of Biblical Hospitality and hope to learn and lean into this practice by both meeting our neighbors where they are at and challenging our own assumptions of what biblical hospitality, particularly in worship, looks like. We will do this through outdoor worship, community meals, studying hospitality, and learning from CCDA.
What two questions might you ask about worship in the coming year that will generate theological reflection and shape your project?
What does it look like to offer Biblical Hospitality to our neighbors in a worship setting and how might that change our worship?
How can a shared meal with our neighbors become a sacramental part of worship where we meet Jesus together?
How will your project impact the worship life and habits of the congregation?
We hope that we will begin to view hospitality as both an ongoing act of worship and a part of our worship service, so that hospitality becomes embedded into our worship services. We hope that neighbors will join in worship and we and our worship will be changed by their presence with us. We hope to become equipped with both the knowledge of theologically why biblical hospitality is important, which will create a more shared language, and also give us tools to build relationships with our neighbors beyond just chatting but that invites them into a space where we can worship together. We hope to begin to develop eyes to see Jesus in our neighbors and those we welcome into our worship.
What might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?
We have done community meals in the past, but they have not always been sustainable. I think because we did not have the foundational language behind why we're doing what we're doing, theologically, which also left us without any tools of how to practice hospitality beyond just forming relationships. These hospitable relationships with our neighbors never translated to a Sunday morning worship service together either. So that will be the challenge for us.
What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?
I have enjoyed going to the Poster event from previous years as an observer and am excited to join this year as a participant! I've always gained a lot of new and creative ideas. I'm particularly interested in talking with the other church who is also doing a project on hospitality in worship to see if we can gain some insight or resources of how they are going about their project.