How to Show General Assembly Generosity

According to the Church of the Nazarene’s General Secretary’s office, delegates from places outside of USA/Canada will receive a “Purchase Card” (credit card) to help with food costs throughout General Assembly. These cards will only work for food and beverage purchases at the convention center food stands, local restaurants, and/or grocery stores (following GA they have no value). The most any delegate is eligible to receive is $280 (I’m guessing this amounts to about 28 bucks a day). Assuming the delegates are housed in a hotel that serves breakfast, they have 28 bucks for their other two meals. In downtown restaurants, at $28, no one will be ordering filet mignon. (FYI, the IRS standard per diem rate for Indianapolis is $69). 

Obviously, this is one reason why GA is so expensive. Providing food and lodging for delegates that cannot afford to come without assistance is a necessity. It’s costly to be a global church. For the record, I do not begrudge giving the purchase cards, nor do I fault the church for giving cards valued $41 less than the standard IRS rate. Did I mention General Assemblies are expensive?  

Part of the goal of General Assembly is to deepen our world-wide family ties. One way to do this (following the Acts 2:42 model) is to eat and fellowship together. To that end, on the Saturday night of General Assembly weekend before the evening service, Central Church will host the Panamanian delegation to dinner. We did this at the last General Assembly back in 2017 too. Of course, back then, we were only two years into our partnership and our friendships were new and fresh. Six years and several work and witness trips in-between our friendships are much deeper. The folks from Panama are family. 

By taking our Panamanian friends to dinner one night, not only does it show hospitality and encourage fellowship, it is also one less meal that has to be placed on their “purchase card.”  It helps our friends to better budget their meals for the rest of the week. They still won’t be ordering filet mignon. 

For most USA/Canada delegates their district is footing the food costs. Many churches assist their pastors who are not delegates with the funds for food and lodging. Even those USA/Canada members attending General Assembly without any church assistance can probably afford to do so. My point, I hope other USA/Canada attenders will find some international friends (or make new international friends), share a meal, then generously pick up the tab. It’s a way of showing hospitality and participating in fellowship. It also helps our international brothers and sisters spend just a little bit more on the rest of their meals during their time at General Assembly. 

Hospitality must be intentional. It doesn’t just happen. Our friends from around the world are converging upon Indianapolis. May we USA/Canada delegates look for ways to be kind and generous. May we exude the love of Christ even if languages and cultures separate us. May we live out the holiness message as we eat, share and care for one another.

Practice hospitality.” -Romans 13:13b