The practice of hospitality is a mandate of scripture. Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, and 1 Peter 4:9 all encourage us to “practice,” “show,” and “offer” hospitality. Opening your home to host gatherings like your missional community or a DNA group, or hosting a regular Open Table for neighbors are excellent ways to practice hospitality using your home.
The home can be seen as a fortress in which to take refuge, or as a gift with which to serve others. Missional hospitality leads you to recognize that your home actually belongs to God and inspires you to use your home to provide a welcoming, restful, and loving space to share with others for the sake of the gospel. Over the years we have learned a few practical tips to make one’s house more hospitable.
Keep the pantry and fridge stocked with basic items so that something to snack on is readily available. Things like fruit, milk, bottled water, nuts, granola/cereal bars, peanut butter, graham crackers, and salty/savory snacks can be a thoughtful thing when someone drops by unexpectedly, or if the MC meal comes up a little short. Keep a supply of disposable plates, cups, utensils, and napkins on hand.
Most typical dining room sets are designed more for aesthetics than function, in my opinion. The tables are unnecessarily wide and the chairs are oversized. You can, however, seat ten to twelve people around a table that is narrower and with seats that are smaller. Consider trading in the formal dining set for a more functional alternative. After all, your goal in missional hospitality is getting more people around the table, not impressing guests with your design choices.
The kids often need a little distraction and entertainment while at your home. Have puzzles, age-appropriate games, paper, markers/crayons, and videos stashed and ready to break out. Be sure to keep all the items clean between your gatherings as kids are sticky, germy little humans much of the time. Outdoor games and grass to romp around in is great, too, provided you have the space.
Light It Up
Well lit walkways, entrances, and outdoor areas is a matter of safety as well as being a stellar host. You do not want your MC family tripping over landscaping or stumbling over steps dropping their most requested dessert before it reaches the table. Be sure you have adequate lighting indoors are well, such as on stairways and in hallways.
Delegating responsibilities to your MC family members helps them feel more like family, plus it helps you get needed tasks done. Ask others to help with cleanup like loading the dishwasher, putting away extra chairs, and picking up after the kids. Trash tends to accumulate as you begin living more missionally. Your roll-out cart may be full, so someone can volunteer to take the newly filled bags with them to add to their own trash. Share the mess, so to speak.
Consider things like comfortable seating, having some throws lying around, and extra cushions. Have the seating arranged so conversation is easy. Keep the temperature moderated. If you know the house will be pretty full, turn the A/C or the heat down a click or two. People generate heat, you know.
Do not fret about having the perfect home, or having every piece of clutter put away before people arrive. You may obsess about such things for a few weeks, but it reaches the point where you toss in the towel. You settle for ‘reasonably clean’ and you start telling your MC family where the cleaning supplies are. Let go of presenting an image and just love people with your home.
Missional hospitality in your home is a display of the gospel. It shows the inviting and inclusive nature of our Father as well as the fact that we are family. Taking the time to pay attention to a few details that can make individuals feel loved, included, and at home can create opportunities to speak good news to them. Gracious hospitality makes your home good news.
How could your missional community increasingly see your homes as a place of good news?
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