Practicing the Powerful Art of Hospitality
Recently, our family moved to a new place where we didn’t know a soul. New state, new town, new everything. On the first day of school, I ducked into the PTA Parents’ Coffee hoping for a few connections. That’s where I met Rikki – open-armed, servant-hearted, revolving-door Rikki. She walked right into my bubble with a warm smile, pointed to my styrofoam coffee cup and said, “Hi! You like caffeine? Come over and I’ll make you a real cappuccino.”
And even though I’m an introvert to the core, Rikki’s warmhearted ways won me over. I showed up that day, and many coffee convos later, I’ve learned the value of true, God-led hospitality.
Think of this: Every time we make a connection with someone, something powerful happens, whether we realize it or not. Whether it’s an invite to lunch, a spontaneous gathering, or a monthly meet-up, when we open our doors and our hearts to others, we open our lives for God to work in wonderful ways.
Maybe we invite someone over just when they need it most. And they, in turn, are inspired to reach out to someone else who needs encouragement – and the ripple effect continues. Or maybe a casual get-together turns into a life-long bond.
I know of a small group that’s been meeting for close to 35 years…praying for each other, lifting each other up – can you imagine what they’ve seen one another through? And it all started with one gathering – one connection they made that changed the course of their lives.
God’s heart for community is clear; we are created to share this life with one another. He invites us to be vessels for His love, not just for those we call “friends” today, but for those we have yet to meet:
Job writes: But no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler. (Job 31:32 NIV)
How about you?
Are you ready for a little nudge out of your comfort zone? Whether you’re a natural extrovert who loves entertaining, or an introvert like me who can feel overwhelmed with others in your space, here are a few ideas:
First, go outside.
Hospitality begins with an open heart. It’s not just about bringing people into our homes; it’s about reaching out and bringing them into our lives. Who’s been crossing your path lately? Coworkers, neighbors, classmates, other parents, or coffee shop regulars? Begin with a simple prayer for connection with those who need God’s grace in this moment. You might want to keep a pack of Prayers to Share handy so you're always prepared to encourage someone along your way.
Start with what you have.
Take a good look around. What’s in your home right now that feels inviting? Maybe it’s a coffee maker; a porch swing; a pool table - even just a bunch of candles on the mantle. We don’t need big, impressive things to bless people. Even small things offered to God can help us make life-changing connections.
Sure, we all have birthday parties from time to time, but what other creative reasons can we find to get together? Sit down, do some brainstorming, and make a list of fun ideas: First Day of Fall, Taco Tuesday, Coffee After Carline, Backyard Olympics …the possibilities are endless. Stock up on greeting cards for all occasions, and remember, it doesn’t have to be a big event. A simple hour spent one-on-one can be the greatest blessing.
Make it a family affair.
It’s never too early (or late!) to model hospitality for our children. Give them little opportunities to play a part. Maybe decorate placemats, help prepare snacks, and greet folks at the door. We keep craft supplies on hand to give the kids something fun to do with young guests.
Remember Peter’s words to his fellow Christ-followers:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8-9 NIV)
Many people view hospitality as a nice thing to do - maybe a way to up their social status or just hang out with friends on weekends. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the relationships we have, it’s important to keep reaching out with the specific purpose of sharing God’s love. Hospitality is a calling; not just for a few of us, but for all of us.
If opening your door feels daunting right now, check out our Hospitality Guide for Introverts for tips on how to host a gathering without feeling overwhelmed. Remember, God can use even our smallest steps of openness to make a big difference in the lives of those around us.