Family Promise talk
March 18, 2018
After the last Family Promise host week, as my team and I
were cleaning the rooms and preparing them for Sunday
School classes, I began to think about how our FP host
week is similar to having friends come to spend some time
in our homes. The reasons my friends come to visit me
differs from why our FP guests come to stay here at First
Church. Nevertheless, we prepare our homes, our hearts
and our church just the same. I think you can identify with
me when you remember having family or friends come to
stay with you for a short time.
I was recently reading Galatians 5:22 about the Fruits of
the Spirit. And I think that love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self
control are all traits we need as we interact with those
around us. But when we are helping someone who has
made some really bad choices but is now working to make
their lives better, what we really need is love, patience and
kindness in particular.
So you begin to prepare your house and in particular the
rooms where your guests will be staying. With the help of
our custodian and the cleaning team, we do the same thing
at church. Cleaning and making everything as home-like as
Then you begin to think of the meals you need to prepare.
Luckily we have a large team of volunteers who provide
delicious home cooked meals and even a pizza night along
with other food and drink that our guests may need or want
during their stay. We have been told that we have the best
snacks of any of the host churches!
So now the guests arrive...the difference here is that we
don’t know our FP guests before they arrive. But what we
do know is that they are all God’s children and they need a
safe place for themselves and their children. A place to
relax and refresh. A place to begin getting their lives back
on track. That is all we need to know.
You may need to drive your guests around town. And in
Family Promise we do too...we have the use of a van
during our host week, which we use to take the children to
daycare or their schools. Then we take those adults who
are not working and any pre-school children to the Day
Center in Akron for the day. At dinner time we pick
everyone up and bring them back to the church for dinner
and the night.
Some of our guests are shy, quiet, reserved. For them, we
are here to simply listen, if, and when they want to talk. We
don’t pry. Or judge. Then on the other hand there have
been times when some of our guests are a little more
outspoken, maybe even a little negative.
A little harder to love. We all probably have a friend or
family member like that. But again in Family Promise we
are only here to listen. To be a presence in God’s house.
To be kind. 1 Peter: 9-10 says...Offer hospitality to one
another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever
gift he has received to serve others, as faithful stewards of
God’s grace in its various form. It’s not always easy but it’s
what we must do.
You might offer your house guests a small gift. Here at FP
we give our guests several things in a Blessing Tote but
what everyone enjoys is warm socks. A volunteer donates
a new tote bag for each guest while another person gives
each child a small fleece blanket and a book. We offer
them a Bible or a children’s story bible. The children get a
small stuffed animal and a toothbrush. The adults get
personal care items. Things that they will probably need
but can’t afford. These items show them that we care.
Romans 12:13 says...Share with God’s people who are in
need. Practice hospitality.
As our Family Promise host week draws to a close, we
invite them back to our church home, just like we would do
to our own family or friend.
So I hope you see the similarities between having guests in
your own home and guests in your church home. The
definition of Hospitality is...The friendly and generous
reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or
strangers. Isn’t that what our lives are all about? Opening
the doors of God’s house and inviting in those who need
our help and compassion. Receiving our guests with
goodwill. Hebrews 13:2 says...Do not hesitate to entertain
strangers, for by so doing, some have entertained angels
without knowing it.
Our church will not solve the problem of homelessness. But
as a group of believers, we can minister to our Family
Promise guests, while hopefully sharing our story with
others who might feel God’s urging to join our efforts.
In about 12 weeks we will again have the opportunity to
receive new guests in God’s church through Family
Promise. Deuteronomy 15:11 says...Since there will never
cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore
command you “Open your hand to the poor and needy
neighbor in your land”. So we will do just that...we will open
our hands, our hearts and our church home to the needy in
our own neighborhood again in June.
I will close with this familiar verse from Matthew 25...I was
hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty
and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and
you invited me in. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for
one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
By performing these simple acts of love, you are doing
them for Jesus Christ.
Thank you so much for your support of Family Promise.