By Mary Ellen Slefinger
When you think about the most impactful ministries of the church, does hospitality make that list? Most people think hospitality ministry is “just” the food ministry of the church. But hospitality by definition is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, and strangers. Let me tell you a story of how the hospitality of one of our Wellspring members made a difference in the lives of two young children.
It happened at Kids’ Camp last summer. Kids’ Camp targets students entering grades one through six. Four seventh graders, who had been blessed through Kids’ Camp in the past, asked to attend camp. We didn’t want to exclude them, but we didn’t know if they could be properly supervised. As we approached the camp leaders, Peggy Collins, a legacy Blanchard member and experienced teacher said “They can help me in the kitchen.” The four ‘Junior Helpers’ worked alongside volunteers and helped prepare, serve and clean up from meals, delivering snacks to classrooms, washing pots and pans, and sweeping floors. Peggy also brought them to chapel!
When chores were completed we would sit around and debrief the meal and discuss ways to improve service. Peggy treated her crew with fairness, firmness, love and occasional silliness. One afternoon one of the students asked “Hey Peggy, did you ever do foster care?”. “Yes” Peggy replied. “Well you took care of my younger brother and me a few years ago. Do you remember me? I remember you.”
Peggy pulled out her phone and scrolled for a while then showed Laney (name changed) a picture of a much younger Laney and her brother taken at her home. “Yes. I remember you.”
Nothing happens by chance! Perhaps the hospitality shown in prior years planted seeds of service. Expect God to use your actions of hospitality as we welcome new faces at Wellspring on Sunday mornings and nearly 100 Kids’ Camp campers July 17-21 and beyond!