And Finally: November 2016

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and rudeness.” Rudeness? What on earth might I mean by that? You might be wondering if I was actually paying attention in seminary. I mean, I certainly was never mistaken for a Greek scholar in school, but even the most language inept seminary student can generally deduce that “rudeness” is not a word that fits that passage and that she should probably go back to her lexicon to correct her exegetical work.

But you see, I’ve noticed that we have the best problem imaginable here at Hope Church. We have an excess of friendliness! Let me explain what I mean. You might have noticed that we have had a lot more college aged visitors lately, which is so exciting! I have been amazed at how welcoming and caring you have been to all of them. As I have met one on one with a number of them, I have asked them what they noticed during their visits to Hope Church. Each time, their answer is the same. “I can’t believe how kind and welcoming they are!” You have engaged them over coffee during fellowship time. You have sat by them during the church service. You have embraced them during the passing of the peace. You have sat by them on pizza Sunday and introduced them to your friends. You have exemplified all of the fruits of the spirit (minus the one from my bad translation) and it has been very touching to the young adults in our midst.

So what about my mention of rudeness and being too friendly? Well, this is where things get a little awkward. Its me. The problem is me. You see, as we have these new faces, I am quickly learning how valuable and brief my time is before, during, and after church services. There are college aged adults, teens, and other young adults who come to services on Sunday, but otherwise would never come to an evening or mid-week activity. This means as a Pastor of Youth and Young Adults, I have to rely on those precious 5-20 minute windows to connect with people. While I adore all of you, my priority is with teens and young adults. And you are all so kind in pouring some of your abundant friendliness onto me during those windows, which complicatedly means I have less interface time with young people. So moving forward, I might need to do what feels rude to me by cutting my face time with you, in order to help welcome those who are new among us.

Will you help me with this problem? There are a few ways we can all take our welcoming spirit to the next level. First, give me grace if I cut our conversation short in order to introduce myself to a visitor. I feel rude when I do so, but as I mentioned before, time is of the essence on Sunday mornings. Second, if you have met someone new and you suspect they haven’t met me yet, introduce us! Especially if I see that a visitor is already talking to one of you, I don’t want to interrupt your conversation, but I do also want to meet them. Third, let’s meet for coffee! The truth is I love this church and all of you; it is my church home. While I have gotten to know many of our younger people, I still would love deepened friendships with more of you. I would love nothing more than meet you for a latte at JPs or even a meal some time during the week. We could even use that time to strategize ways for me to up my rudeness game to you on Sunday mornings. Thanks in advance for your help!

~Pastor Beth