Welcoming a Stranger

Groups Director Ryan Eckhoff leads a Men's Small Group on Wednesday evenings. He shared the following story of his small group in action one evening when he was absent. Read on and see God at work as they embodied the Small Group Practice of Hospitality. Below is the account from Patrick Mishler, the Assistant Leader, on what happened that evening.

"Our Men's group meets on Wednesday nights in the library at NCBC. Our meeting was fairly routine to start. We had worked through our praises and prayer requests and we were about halfway through our discussion of the previous Sunday's sermon.

On this particular Wednesday, the kids were yet not back on the NCBC campus so it was easy to spot a gentleman on Main Street who appeared to be looking for something. Eventually, he approached our group and asked if there were any services. We told him that there weren't any services on Wednesday nights but that he was more than welcome to join us in our discussion of the sermon. So, he pulled up a chair, gave a quick introduction and we all jumped back in where we left off.

He didn't really say a lot, which wasn't surprising as he didn't seem like a regular attender and was probably not familiar with the previous Sunday's sermon. Despite this, he was engaged and attentive as the members of our group shared their thoughts.

I was keeping an eye on the clock because I wanted to make sure we saved some time to talk to our new friend more about what was going on in his life, what brought him to NCBC that evening, and to do a more formal introduction of the group so he could get to know us.

After all of the members of our group introduced themselves, our new friend shared some struggles that he had been having with how he was spending his time on the internet. He told us that he wanted to make some changes in his life and that he needed God. I was blown away by his honesty and openness. To share struggles like that with a group of strangers was really powerful.

As our time came to a close we told him that he was more than welcome to join us again next Wednesday. We also shared the info about Sunday services and he kindly gave us his information so that we could keep in contact with him. I closed us in prayer and prayed for our new friend, that he may get a handle on his struggles and that he lean into God for guidance and strength.

I always feel filled with the spirit when I leave our group on Wednesday nights. There is always good conversation amongst our group and guys aren't afraid to drop "Truth Bombs" as one of our members likes to say. But I felt filled in a different way that night. I was able to see how our group reacts to "a stranger" in need. I was very proud of our group and we will continue to pray he returns to New Covenant."

-Patrick Mishler

So a guy comes wandering into the church looking for a worship service. He instead connects with a Small Group where he authentically shares, feels heard, and is prayed for. To continue the story, this new individual did return to church the next Sunday. Because of the group's willingness to show hospitality by welcoming a 'stranger,' they were able to help this person take the next step in their walk with Jesus!

We pursue God, pursue others and practice His ways

Ryan Eckhoff
Groups Director


Patrick Mishler