Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pots of Gold

I noticed this story on a sports ticker the other day. (Read another version of it HERE.) Notre Dame sent some of their potential football recruits packages of 477 hand-written letters. This represents one letter for every Notre Dame player who has ever been drafted to the NFL.

This is certainly extravagant and as the article points out will lead to other colleges competing to see who can show their recruits the most love. If the next school sends 500 letters will that mean they value their players more than Notre Dame does?

As a church leader it's my job to send a letter or email each week to each first-time guest for whom we receive contact info. In fact, guests receive an email from me on both their first and second visits  to one of our worship services. Focusing upon hospitality toward guests is an important aspect of our Sunday morning experience. In an ideal world each guest would leave feeling they've made at least one new friend and met a church that cares about them and can help meet their needs.

I know other churches that attempt to demonstrate their love for each person that comes through their doors by dropping off a box of cookies or some homemade bread later that week or even Sunday afternoon. A couple of times I've received a pen in the mail as a "thank-you" gift for visiting a church. I've also heard a minister at a large church describe how he spends Sunday afternoon making phone calls to first-time guests that left their phone number on an attendance card.

I don't really imagine that any guest at a church service would want to receive 477 letters later that week. But it makes me think about our attitudes. Are we as passionate about "recruiting" people to the kingdom of God as we are about recruiting top players to a football team?

In Romans 10:1 the apostle Paul wrote, "my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

What does your heart desire for your neighbours? Would you risk getting eternal hand cramp "so that they may be saved?"

Two Questions:
1. What's the most extravagant thing you've seen a church try as they followup with guests?
2. Can you think of another spiritual application to this story about "pots of gold"?  

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