Our indoor playground is currently closed due to construction. Keep an eye on our website for updates.

A Place to Serve: Hospitality

By Gerald Ridgway
In eLetter
Back to Blog

Last week we sat down for a conversation with Gerald Ridgway, who many of you have probably met without even realizing it. Gerald serves on the Hospitality Team as a greeter and can be found each Sunday giving high fives and handshakes to IBCers entering through the Kids entrance off Regent. He’s been doing this—same role, same door—for 25 years. Below is an excerpt of our conversation that has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

So what brought you to IBC?

Originally, my wife and I were at a church over in Grand Prairie, but we lived in Irving at that point and decided we’d get closer to home. That was about 26 years ago, because I’ve been at the door for 25 years.

How did you decide to join the Hospitality Team?

Well, my wife was the one who suggested it. She wanted to get involved doing something and wanted me to go with her. I’m kind of a shy person so it was a little bit of a stretch for me, but I figured I’d just come out here and stand over to the side since there were other people doing it at the time. When they left, I was kind of left to do it. It was really the kids’ door, and my passion was to make sure the kids got greeted. So that’s what I concentrated on and that’s what I’ve done since then.

What does a typical Sunday look like for you?

I get here at 8:00 a.m. to get my door ready—the same door I’ve been at all 25 years. I come in and make sure I’ve got the candy all set up and see if there’s anything outside that needs to be swept. I greet at the 9:00 a.m. and then go into service, then come back out and greet before the 10:45 a.m. service, and then go to my Journey class. I come back and get everything put away. I get away about 12:30 p.m.

That’s a pretty big Sunday. Do you ever take off?

I do occasionally. For years I had a couple of people who came and helped me greet. That was the only door at that time, so it was busier than it is now that there are two entrances. Now it’s just me but someone always fills in for me when I’m out. I try to be there – I’m there unless we’re gone.

What is the best part about your role?

Well, probably the biggest part is the kids. They have all kinds of personalities and to watch them grow up, you know, is a pleasure and a joy. They’re always drawing me pictures or birthday cards. Sometimes you don’t know what the picture is of, but it’s special to them. So mainly the kids, but also I’ve been there so long that the people have become family. They appreciate someone being there. And it’s not just greeting them, it’s being involved. Hundreds of people come through that door, and my philosophy is that if you can affect something positive in their life it’s worth it.

If you didn’t serve in Hospitality where would you serve?

Well, I don’t know – that’s hard. If I had to do anything it would probably be with kids. But I can’t imagine doing something new. At my age any way. I’m hoping I’m here until the good Lord takes me.

What would you say to someone at IBC who isn’t sure how to find a place to serve?

I was kind of in that situation. I wasn’t real comfortable when I started; it was a stretch for me. But it’s such a blessing if you can get involved. I’d encourage people to just give it a try, pick out a place they might like, and I think they’d be blessed.

We Recommend Reading Next: