God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
Recently I realized that it has been almost 20 years since I was actively involved in the funeral business. 20 years! My, how time flies. I was a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Georgia and Florida before I answered the call to ordained ministry. One of the questions I was most often asked was, “how can you do that? I could never do that.” My answer, which evolved over time, was that I saw it as a ministry, a way to serve people when they could not serve themselves, and to serve families in their time of need. I had the gift of hospitality for those in dire need, and I answered the call to the best of my ability.
One of the things church guru’s often say about most churches is that they spread themselves too thin instead of focusing on the three or four things they do best. It is an easy thing to do, trying to be all things to all people. But, in the end, the process of spreading too thin means that nothing is done with the intended results. Each church is blessed with many spiritual gifts within its membership. The key is using those gifts with clarity in service to others and to the glory of God.
POG is a place that does hospitality well. I would say it is one of the three or four things we do that defines who we are. The best example of this is when we serve families who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I have had the privileged of being a fly on the wall these four some odd years, watching as people in need are served through the generosity of our membership. This is a snapshot of what I see:
The initial notification goes out that someone in our midst has experienced a loss in their family
The hospitality team springs into action, beginning the process of serving a luncheon for the grieving family after the service.
The altar guild springs into action, deciding what needs to be done to prepare the sanctuary.
People are called by the hospitality committee. In the midst of that, people call them to offer their share of whatever needs to happen.
Announcements are made during worship. More people indicate a desire to help.
Food is prepared and dropped off at POG
A team shows up early on the morning of the service and readies the fellowship hall to welcome the grieving families
Food is organized and some fret if it will be enough. Usually, it ends up being a loaves and fishes kind of experience. However, we are sometimes grateful for the Value Center Market next door!
A team of people waits patiently to welcome those after the service.
The team serves a delicious luncheon, including my favorite kielbasa, and the grieving people are fed.
A team stays, helps clean up and put the fellowship hall back together for the next activity. Like the Boy Scouts, they leave it like they found it.
In the end, it works like clockwork. Over these last four years I cannot tell you how many family and friends of those who were served commented on how they could not believe a church would go to these great lengths to serve its members. I often say to them, “that is the POG way”.
If I were to rewrite the Scripture passage above, it would probably look like this:
God has given POG the gift of hospitality from his great variety of spiritual gifts. The people of POG use it well to serve one another.
Well done, POGers. I look forward to seeing you in church!