Because I’m not getting paid to advertise for anyone, I’ll say it like this: Camille and I love the Blue Store. I know a lot of you are Green Store enthusiasts but we are head over heals, hook, line, and sinker loyal to the Blue Store.

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Our house here in Big Rapids came with some just spectacular yellow, shaggy carpet. We think it might have been white originally and just yellowed with time. So Camille went into the Green Store to check out flooring options and as she enters the flooring section, a Green Store employee approached her. Within seconds of finding out she’s looking for flooring, this employee launched into a 15-minute monologue about his cats, their individual personalities and what he’s had to do with flooring in his house because of them. Camille was cornered and eventually just kind of ran away.

Then she went over to the Blue Store and entered the flooring department and was approached by Wayne. That’s right, we know his name. We are actually pretty close to friends now. He comes up to a distressed Camille, recovering from the traumatic cat monologue and not only consoles her and comforts her about the Green Store employee but goes on to ask lots of questions about what she needs and wants and gives very helpful advice about flooring.

Sam is my plumbing guy at the Blue Store. Because of the ridiculous soldering jobs, I inherited on my house I’ve become somewhat of a legend at the Blue Store. I bring in pictures of leaking pipes and my buddy Sam is always there not only hooking me up with supplies but taking the time to give me advice on what to do because he’s an experienced plumbing professional and I don’t know anything.

What I’m describing to you is hospitality. Our experience at the blue store is helpful, relational, and friendly. Maybe the Green Store is cheaper or has other advantages, but we are dedicated Blue Store customers because of hospitality. This idea of hospitality is crucially connected with the mission of our church. Churches tend to greet new people either with a cold silence or weird cat monologues. It’s my prayer that our Church would take a lesson from the Blue Store and do three things:

1. Smile, make eye contact and introduce yourself.

“Hi, I’m Wayne, how are you?” It really is that simple!

2. Get to know them by asking questions:

“Have you been around Big Rapids for a while?”
“What line of work are you in?”
“I see you’ve got camo on, are you a hunter?”

The key is to see them as people with a backstory and simply be curious.

3. Invite them to something. At the Blue Store, I’m invited to benefit from some PEX plumbing solutions they sell. At Church it might look like this:

“It is hard to be new to town. If you’d like to meet some more folks we’d love to have you at Connecting Group on Tuesday.”
“I love the Ribs at The Raven too! Want to grab lunch sometime this week?”Almost any invitation to another time to hang out is helpful, especially if it involves food.

Hospitality is a beautiful thing because it is where being friendly and the glory of God meet in very direct ways. Join me in making our church a welcoming place!