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Summary: When it comes to evangelism, the last thing you want to do is invite someone to come to Christ --FIRST you have to be ready to receive them. You must learn hospitality.

Hospitality to One Another

Delivered on March 5, 2006


The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh

Senior Pastor


1 Peter 4:7-10

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.


One of the most important things we do as a church is to do what we did today – we installed and ordained elders.

Now the reason I say this is because these elders are our spiritual leaders.

You may have heard us refer to the Book of Order – that is part of the constitution of our church – it is the rule book for how to operate a Presbyterian Church. In that book, it details the duties of an elder.

The first is to come to worship services and to encourage others to be faithful in worship.

The next is to equip the people in the church for work in and beyond the congregation – notice they are not to do the work of the church. They are to LEAD us and help us to do our mission work.

The list goes on from there, and one of the things elders are supposed to lead and equip us to do is in sharing our faith.

Sharing our faith.

That’s not something we do very well.

In fact, many times we hear mention of the word “evangelism” as simply the “E-word,” as if it were some obscene word.

During this season of Lent, Dr. Dave and I will be preaching a series of sermons on the “E-word” – on evangelism.

We are in the Season of Lent.

We often think of Lent as a season in which to give something up. Have you ever heard that – people give up chocolate for Lent, or they give up television for Lent, or perhaps broccoli. It is a type of self-sacrifice as a way of spiritual discipline.

Dr. Dave and I want you to give up your silence for Lent.

We need to start speaking out for Christ. We need to feel comfortable with evangelism.

I know that is difficult, because evangelism means we have to go out there – into the world, and share the Good News of the Gospel. We have to gather up the courage to actually invite people to become Christians and to come to church.

And that is difficult, but I’m going to give you a secret about evangelism.

This is important, so you need to listen carefully.

When it comes to evangelism, the last thing you want to do is invite someone to come to church.

Now just in case you think you misunderstood me, I’ll say this again.

When it comes to evangelism, the last thing you want to do is invite someone to come to church.

It is like having a party at your home. The last thing you want to do is invite people to come to your party.

Now that is NOT to say you NEVER want to invite people to your party. However BEFORE you actually invite people, you have a long list of things to do – you have to decide the date of the party, the time, how many will come, what food will you serve, things like that. THEN you invite people.

When I say that when it comes to evangelism, the last thing you want to do is invite someone to come to church, I am NOT saying you NEVER invite people to come to church. What I am saying is that BEFORE we invite people, we have to prepare for the arrival of our guests.

Are we prepared for our guests?

Later during Lent, Dr. Dave and I will preach about how to intentionally and purposefully invite others to come to church, but today, I want to focus on how we prepare for the arrival of our guests.

One word – hospitality.

Do you regard yourselves as hospitable people? Are we a welcoming church?

The Book of Order is not the only place where we find the qualities of an elder. We find them listed in the Bible – even better than the Book of Order!

St. Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy a list of what an elder should be – “self-controlled, respectable, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome.” One of the characteristics is that an elders should have, according to the Bible, “hospitable.”

(1 Tim 3:1-7)

The elders need to have that quality, they need to lead us so that we have that quality.

And you know, it is not always easy to welcome people into our home.

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