Dear New Hope,
This Christmas, my wife and I were in Kansas celebrating my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday when their microwave suddenly died. The next morning, I travelled 2 hours to a Home Depot, loaded a microwave in a rental car, and prepared for my return drive. Looking at a map, I realized I was only 1 hour from the home of New Hope friends who had moved to Kansas. I would have loved to see them, but they didn’t know I was even in town. I sat there in the parking lot with a decision: Do I go an hour out of my way to see friends? Would they even be home? If they are home, would they mind if I just popped-in? Should I notify them first?
I decided to give it a try. Driving 60 miles through gusty winds and icy road conditions, I arrived in Holyrood, Kansas, pulling up in front of Glenn and Jenni’s house. Unshaven and hat on backwards, I strolled to the front door, knocked, and waited. When Glenn saw me, he hooted and hollered, called for Jenni, and said: “Look who popped in!” For the next 20 minutes, we sipped coffee, reminisced about times at New Hope, talked about family, and laughed about the “good old days.” Just before I left, Glenn grabbed my hand and lifted up a prayer to the God of the universe, asking that my family and my ministry be richly blessed.
All of that happened as a result of an unannounced, pop-in visit.
Within 1 hour of having left their house, I got a Facebook message from Glenn’s daughter in Traverse City and an email from the New Hope office. Glenn had called both of them, bragging about my visit and wanted to say how blessed he was that I took the time to stop by. I chuckled…because I was the one who felt blessed by them!
Where has the pop-in visit gone? When was the last time you popped in to see a friend for 15 minutes? No schedule. No plan. Just a quick drop in to say hello and bless someone.
In a recent article called Rediscover the Art of the Pop-In, Chris Kornelis encouraged readers to pop-in, unannounced and pay friends a visit. In some ways, it’s old school, and with certain people, it may even be inappropriate. But what would it look like to occasionally pop-in and say hello to a friend that you haven’t seen in a while?
On New Year’s Eve, Kornelis popped-in to see friends which led to “a 30 minute party that never would have happened if we’d put it on the calendar.” He’s right. Our schedules are often too full to allow for a scheduled, planned visit. In our fast-paced, overbooked culture, we’ve all had times where we have unsuccessfully tried to coordinate a get together with another family. As a result of over-planning, Kornelis writes “we’ve lost our spontaneity and our perspective on hosting. It used to be part of our everyday lives. Now it’s a ticketed event. When we finally do host others, we’re not very good at it.” Wow, what an accurate critique on American hospitality. It does feel like it’s a “ticketed event” that only happens when we try to squeeze a visit in between sporting events, travels and house chores. What if we changed our perspective and allowed for greater spontaneity?
Kornelis is onto something here. There are times when planned gatherings are great, but they also require rigorous scheduling, three hours of house cleaning, extensive meal preparation, and another two-three hours of socializing before your guests leave. And when they do leave, you sit in a chair exhausted by how difficult it is to host people. But, if we allowed ourselves a bit of spontaneity, friends could just pop-in for a visit, you could share a cup of coffee or iced tea (sweetened please,) sit in a semi-disorganized living room, and enjoy 20 minutes of laughter before bidding them farewell. No sweat. No preparation. Less time. Big impact.
The article concludes with an action step: “Give it a try this season. Rather than making plans with friends, just pop in. And be ready for them to do the same.” Yes, there will be times when friends aren’t home, or maybe you show up at an inopportune time, but more times than not, your brief pop-in visit just may bring joy and laughter to others who call home to brag about how awesome it was to see you.
How about it? In 2019, make hospitality and friendship a higher priority. And instead of trying to schedule everything into our overbooked schedules, why not just pop-in and pay a short visit?
You are loved,