Offering hospitality is one of the biggest ways we can show Jesus' love to the Scottish people. We have found that opening our homes to people here is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship that opens the door to sharing Christ with people! I didn't realize until I started this ministry just how impactful it could be to share a meal or even just a cup of tea with someone. In this culture, having a cup of tea and a 'biscuit' (a sweet cookie) is a big deal in relationship-building and sharing, so we've had to incorporate that into our daily lifestyle. As one minister in Ireland tells all of his new missionaries, 'You have to build bigger bladders to be effective in ministry here!' The same is true in Scotland!! :) Ministry happens in our living room, in the living rooms of our friends and contacts, and in coffee shops around the area.
So far, I have been able to provide hospitality through inviting families and individuals into our home for lunch or dinner, hosting small group studies, ministry meetings and Bible studies in our home and inviting our contacts and friends over for tea and dessert. We also love to invite people out for lunch or coffee, especially the younger generation who love that. Even if I don't have the time or money during certain times of the month to do a full three-course meal for someone (which is so fun to do when I can), I find it just as impacting to invite someone over for tea and a biscuit in the evening (store bought will do when you are too busy!). It is also a huge part of our ministry to go to coffee shops and share fellowship and Bible studies over a cup of coffee. We have actually based an entire part of our ministry around reaching out to people in coffee shops. We now have 6 coffee shop Bible studies a week in 4 different cities! We have also incorporated a meal into our Sunday night small group outreach effort, as we decided that sharing a meal is such a big part of sharing Christ. Each of the families on our team take turns hosting the meal and study -- we try to keep it fairly simple, though we do always serve dessert and coffee afterwards! It is such a special time each week, and people are really drawn into it! We also always offer a cup of tea and biscuit after our Sunday morning service to encourage fellowship afterwards and get to know visitors. We even have made it a regular part of our team meetings to share a meal together!
I have also found that a big part of the ministry here is doing simple baking for people and events -- a home baked cookie or cake is a small token of your time and love that can go a long way! Even our visitors from the community at our outreach events have commented on that. In this culture, we have also found it very important to accept the hospitality of others, as much as we give it. The Scottish people love to have you stop by for a visit, and a cup of tea and a sweet is always going to be offered at any time of day. Often in this culture you are given an open invitation to come over anytime, and they really mean it! In fact, we've known a few people that have felt upset if we haven't dropped by unannounced! That is a huge example to us of true hospitality -- having your home open and available to people at any time! God works in such mighty ways through simple hospitality!
Sunday night small group at our home
Please remember Robin and Chrissy Vick in your daily prayers. You can read their current mission news at: http://centralscotlandmissions.com/.