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A couple of years ago, the Youth Group leaders at our church asked willing adults in the congregation to volunteer if they were able to team up with a member of the youth group.  Pairs were matched after which it was up to the individuals to pursue the relationship.  Continuation and "success" has been varied, but it has provided positive communication and fellowship between the generations.  The biggest question seems to be where the impetus and responsibility to start and maintain the relationship should come from:  the mentor or the mentee?  Presently, this is under discussion.  As someone who participates(d) in this program, I must say I was blessed and enriched.

We worshipped at Holden Beach Chapel in Holden Beach, NC. This vibrant church hosts guest preachers year-round, exchanging a week's stay on the beach for a sermon. We heard Julie Peeples preach an excellent sermon on the ten bridesmaids waiting for the coming groom.

Ruth Ann, it's a comfort to read your article. I did the two-church thing as choir director/worship designer for ten years and resonate with all the challenges and delights you listed. Since one of my charges was CRC and the other RCA, there were interesting differences there, but the most helpful thing we did was combining the two choirs semi-regularly and singing in each other's worship services. Many were the times choir members expressed the wish to put aside all the denominational challenges that separated the two groups years ago and "do church" together all the time. I was personally blessed by having two pastors and two worshipping communities. I look back on those years with pleasure. 

There are some of us that honestly believe we do not have the "gift" of hospitality, because we are shy or introverted. Passages like I Peter 4:9 - 10 (Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.), with the instruction to offer hospitality in place directly alongside an exhortation to use whatever gift you have received seem to support this idea, but careful reading of the passages addressing hospitality make it clear practicing hospitality is a call to all believers, not an encouragement for those with the gift to practice it. Accepting this changes everything: it is NOT someone else's "job" to be hospitable -- it is the call of every believer. That should impact how we engage visitors, folks new to the fellowship and folks that appear lonely or out of place. I am not totally at ease approaching new/unfamiliar folks, but believing it IS what I'm called to do helps me take comfort in the belief that God will bless the effort.

Posted in: It's Your Page

I do think small groups are at the heart of successful church life -- I'm wondering about how already existing groups can and do function as small groups even though they weren't established with that in mind, a church choir, for instance.  What do you think? 

We are enjoying "Hear Our Praises", LUYH #302 and "Lift High the Name of Jesus" (Ed Cash, Fionan DeBarra, Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty) and "Here Is Love" Welch Revival Hymn (Robert Lowry, Wm.Edwards, Wm. Rees) reset by Matt Redman.

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