Radical Hospitality: A Climate for Church Planting

Radical Hospitality Received—Our Story

When our family moved to San Francisco almost 19 years ago, the rental vacancy rate was 1%. Every available unit had potential renters lined up with candy, flowers, or several months advance payments in hand, and in the craziness, we just didn’t score high enough. We had only met Andrew Jones (tall skinny Kiwi) once, but he and his wife Debra and their children pushed their extra furniture on end into a small space and invited our family of three and all of our possessions to move in. We lived together for a month and a half, then they moved to another neighborhood in San Francisco. That was an amazing lesson for us, and we knew we needed to pay it forward.
Not long afterwards, our family met Mark Scandrette at a party at our home. We don’t remember who brought him, but after that encounter we invited Mark, Lisa, and their three children to live with us for the first month or so when they moved to our city. Dozens of people have stayed with the Scandrettes since then, and they have made a significant contribution to the spiritual climate of San Francisco. Dozens have also called the Bergquist place their home, as well. We are looking forward to the arrival of a couple from Nepal this summer. We have prayed for church planters among South Asians, and now God has sent His good gift to us through the Napits.

Radical Hospitality Happening All Around Us

After April and Evan Prosser retired, they decided to move out of their San Francisco home and into a bus so that people without a place to live could move into their house. Eventually, they decided it would work better to live with the people they loved, so they moved back in and retreated to the bus one day a week. Senior adults Michael and Shirley Pounds live in a mobile home park. However, in the past few years they have raised enough money to start recovery homes in a suburb outside of San Francisco—one for men and one for women. Many are getting a new start in life through this ministry.
I met Shawn Gordon at Huli Huli, a new restaurant in town. He manages this restaurant started by Francis Chan. Shawn had recently turned his life around and come back to Jesus while he was in prison. Nobody wanted to rent a home to him, and he couldn’t find a place to live with his family. Francis and his wife moved out of their master bedroom, gave it to Gordon’s family, and became their friends. As he met others like Gordon, Chan purchased a two-story building where many men stay upstairs, are mentored in their faith, and have the opportunity to work at the restaurant Shawn manages downstairs. The team has started a network of cell groups where people are living in hard-core commitment to Jesus.
This week a new church planter family is driving across the country, and moving to San Francisco. I don’t remember the denomination, but here they come, ready to make a difference. I placed a shout out on my Facebook page one evening, and by the next morning, two teams had volunteered to assist with the move-in. There are so many stories to tell.

A Relationship between Radical Hospitality and Church Planting?

How does all of this radical hospitality relate to church planting? I am not always exactly sure, but I am certain it does. There is a new wind here— a climate of sold-out people of faith. Many churches and ministries are being birthed and God is at work. Really.
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About the Author

Linda Bergquist

Linda has been involved in church planting for 38 years, 36 of which have been in urban areas. She is currently a church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board and has served as an adjunct professor in several seminaries. She co-authored the books Church Turned Inside Out, The Wholehearted Church Planter, and City Shaped Churches and authored the Exponential ebook: The Great Commission and the Rest of Creation.

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