Some of my readers are fully aware that I have a Thursday lunchtime routine. Each Thursday, I leave the office and head over to the Brown Jug Tavern for a coney dog and a beverage.
Each week, I interact with some of the folks bellied up to the bar, do some reading, and work on my sermon. This has been a routine since I started at Centerville UMC in July.
Every time I wander into the Brown Jug, I’m warmly greeted…not only by the staff, but by the patrons as well.
On a particularly busy day, an older gentleman saved me a seat. He said, “Young man, I saved you a seat because I knew you were coming.”
Today, when I bellied up to the bar, the bartender said, “So, do you want a coney dog, cheese, onions, mustard, barbecue chips and a Bud Light*?” She knew my order to a “t”. Now, I am a creature of habit. But, let’s be honest, the bartender sees a number of people throughout the week. I’m just one customer who comes in on Thursday and always orders the same thing. But, she remembered. And, the old man who saved a seat for me a couple of weeks ago said, “Young man, we missed you last week.”
As I stood up to walk out the door, a gentleman at the bar said, “See you next week!” The bartender said, “Thanks a lot, we’ll see you next time!”
Some things I’ve learned about radical hospitality at the Brown Jug:
– Radical hospitality has to go beyond the staff. When folks walk into a church, they expect the pastor to be friendly…they probably expect the ushers and greeters to be friendly too. But, they may not expect the entire congregation to be friendly.
– Radical hospitality means expecting people and saving seats (but not in the “this has been my pew for 35 years kind of way”).
– Radical hospitality means letting people know you miss them.
– Radical hospitality means remembering even the minor things about people, like whether or not they want mustard on their coney dog.
– Radical hospitality means letting people know you’re glad they came and that you hope they’ll return.
– Radical hospitality is sometimes more obvious in bars than it is in churches.
– Radical hospitality goes beyond expectations.
*Yes, this craft beer snob drinks a Bud Light when at the Brown Jug. You know what they say, “When in Rome…”