Today I would like to share a blog written by a fellow pastor’s wife on the topic of Hospitality. She addresses this with her 32 years of experience and in a very informative and gracious way. I pray it will be a blessing to you.
I have been a PW for nearly 32 years and have learned some things that I wish I had known early. I don’t pretend to be an expert on ANYTHING. However, I hope I can encourage some of us with these words.
There will always be seasons and stages in life. Ministry is part of that for us. It’s like vacuuming or meal-planning only it’s the MOST important thing because it involves sharing the most important thing a person can know, the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. Sharing the Gospel and living a Gospel-influenced life will weave into your everyday life as you cook breakfast, take kids to school or activities, love your husband, clean your house, plan your meals, shop for groceries, wash the dishes, perform bedtime routines, read stories to kids, wind down at night, crawl into bed and start again the next day. Please fill in where you must your specific daytime routines.
Personality plays into what I am going to write about so read this in light of God’s word and your bent…and your family’s bent.
HOSPITALITY is the number one thing to practice when wooing the lost toward Jesus. Now I am not talking ONLY about hosting parties, having people over for dinner, or planning huge church events. Please relax all you introverts and tired mommies of young kids. I have been to all those places (except the introvert one). Hospitality is at the heart of the Gospel.
How hospitality looks for the pastor’s family can be your decision, your idea, but it needs to be part of what you do on a regular basis. I would like to propose some ideas on how one can practice hospitality that wins people to at least a conversation about Jesus:
- Smile genuinely at strangers. Picture yourself at 7-11 paying for your gas before you pump or running your potty-training toddler in to use their questionably “clean” restroom. You make eye contact with someone, the cashier, another customer, a child in tow of another parent. Smile, at least with your eyes.
- Speak. Wherever you are, please don’t pass another person, particularly one person alone without making eye contact if possible and say “hello” or “howdy-do” or “hi.” Say whatever is culturally acceptable. This is hospitality. It says to someone that they matter, they are valued.
- Invite people in…to your thoughts. Let’s say you’re standing in line. Maybe it’s a long one, maybe it’s a short one but a line. Even if you’re an introvert you can and should invite a person, a family, a child to your home and embrace them. Unless there are extenuating circumstances of health or relationship, we can invite people over.
I am not talking about a luxury visit, I am talking about inviting someone to enjoy an everyday situation with you and your family. Coffee, snacks, water, a game, a shared favorite TV show, a movie, even a dinner, if time permits. Your furniture doesn’t have to match, your dishes don’t have to be fine china or even matching. The only requirement(besides sanitation) is love, acceptance, and generosity.
- Include people within your reach. When you’re at church, be the one to say, “Please, sit here, or would you like to walk with me to the coffee table, or can I help you carry something?” As debilitated as we can feel some days, due to everyday fatigue exacerbated by spiritual warfare, sometimes just that eye contact with a harried mom or grandmom, the gesture of offering to scoot down so they can easily enter a seating area, or an offer to help in whatever way can pave the way to Gospel change.
The same results can occur when we’re outside our church environment, say, at a sports event with our children or a birthday party or simply at a big box store with 4 kids in tow. Offer to hold someone’s place in line if they suddenly remember something on the list that was skipped, maybe even start a conversation with the person behind you in line. These are all examples of hospitality and go a long way to opening channels of communication and possibly openness to the Gospel that we all so desperately need. Believe it or not, we need it more than we need those diapers or that TP! Haha!
My purpose here is not to preach or belittle but to encourage. Whether you’re in a church of thousands or tens, hospitality is the key to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is why we even have these things we call “churches.” A church is not a building, it is the body of Jesus lovers around the globe. If we open our hearts and our homes to our fellow humans it shows our love for Him and our love for each other and our love for the world. They will know we are Christians by our love.
One last thing I want to say: This hospitality is not only for unbelievers or those outside our “churches” but also for those people within the group, the walls, the local church body. Yes, I even mean that snide little 50-something woman who seems to know everything or the young single mom whose kids are a terror and everyone in between. These people need hospitality. It’s up to you and your husband what type you offer. It can be as simple as meeting at the park on a nice day or asking someone to help you host a baby shower. A coffee date, a walk around the block…you have creativity of your own. My thought is that some people didn’t have a family unit like the pastor’s family often represents. Even at church events your family can be offering hospitality using the mindset of considering others as better than yourself (Phil. 2) and putting others interests ahead of your own. It all works out if we are doing everything for the glory of God.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:8,9)
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
I believe what Ellen has shared with us today has great value, especially for those of you new in the ministry. I pray you will take what she has shared from her heart and apply it to your ministry.
We are here to come alongside you in any way we can on your journey.