In 2007, Bishop Robert Schnase of the Missouri Conference wrote a book titled, “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations;” which became very popular, especially in the United Methodist denomination. One of the five practices that Schnase names as vital for a congregation to be fruitful is “Radical Hospitality.” He writes, “Vibrant, fruitful, growing congregations practice Radical Hospitality. Out of genuine love for Christ and for others, their people, pastors, and staff take the initiative to invite, welcome, include, and support newcomers and help them grow in faith as they become part of the Body of Christ.”
Emily, Caleb, William and I are the “newcomers” here in Burke County and we have experienced this radical hospitality through the people at Christ United Church from day one. We are very grateful for our warm reception into this new church and community; which has made us feel so welcomed and so loved from the very beginning. We have been extremely well fed and experienced the love of Jesus through other expressions of hospitality as well.
If Christ United Church continues to welcome the newcomer with 1/10th of the passion with which our family has been welcomed, God’s Spirit is going to set this place on fire. Remember, where the church is alive, the people will drive. We want people to see this place burning and come check out what in the world is going on here. I have challenged the entire church to continue to practice radical hospitality as we move forward with a focus on God and on people through Worship, Outreach, and Discipleship.
The church recently practiced this Radical Hospitality on Wednesday, August 22nd at the annual cookout and pool party at the nearby Valdese Rec center on Wednesday, August 22nd from 6-8:00 p.m. “This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever head” was a sentiment that I heard over and over throughout the evening.
The Knopp family wants to wish a special thank you to the parsonage committee and others who helped to prepare our home prior to our arrival including Betty, Richard, & RJ Ganung, James & Daniel Sanders, Jason Adams, Francis Burroughs & sons, Scott Cotter, Jerry & Carolyn Williams, Jim Mace, Larry & Sandy Courtney, Rob & Robin Garrison, John Waters, Wayne Roush, Cathy Powell, Doug Shaw, Lynn Lail, Jeanette Hanks, John & Eli Waters, Basil Watson, Rex Shuping (who does not even attend Christ United) and all others of whose efforts we are unaware. Also, a special thank you to all who provided our family with meals for the first week of our lives here in Burke County this past July.