How to Cultivate Christian Hospitality in Your Home

Hospitality can take many forms. Hosting overnight guests, elaborate dinner parties, a simple backyard BBQ, or even offering a spontaneous cup of tea or glass of water for unexpected guests. The dictionary describes hospitality as “the business of providing food, drink, and accommodation or the friendly reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

What the dictionary cannot reveal is the joy derived from connection with friends and neighbors in the name of Christ through the simple act of opening our door.

God, the originator of hospitality, created a world and invited us in and provided us with all manner of food and drink. How can we mimic Him in this?

Hospitality as a Means of Love

The world is full of hurting, busy, and searching people. Opening our homes to them can be a powerful way to show the love of Jesus. When an unbelieving neighbor enters your space and sees a different way of life, it can show them the goodness of God.

When an exhausted mother stops by and you entertain her children while filling her cup with coffee, she sees the rest of Jesus.

When the young wife or the college student on the crux of a big decision joins your family for a meal, they witness the welcome and provision of Jesus.

We have been encouraged that whatever we do, “for the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), we are really doing for Him.

I remember when an old high school friend was in town and reached out. Though our life with five young daughters was vastly different from his life of singleness, work, travel, and partying, we invited him in. We fed him, and he joined our family worship, even singing a hymn.

Having been raised in a Christian home, it touched him and brought up some deep conversations. He died a year later, and we pray God used our home to begin him on a journey back to Christ.

You can show love through hospitality by:

  • Keeping extra snacks, beverages, easy dinner options or baked goods on hand so you can spontaneously host.
  • Providing special touches like lighting a candle, turning on some music or adding something to the evening that specifically appeals to your guests’ interests, such as a favorite food, style of music or a card of welcome.
  • Being invested. Ask questions about themselves and listen.
  • Sending them out with something extra like fresh eggs, homegrown flowers and leftovers.

Simple gestures show love to visitors.

Hospitality as a Means of Friendship

To deepen relationships with others, have them in your home. Allow them to see the deeper parts of your life. Sit at a table together. Pray together. Show who your family really is.

When we enter the home of another, we can see their habits, interests, styles, and skills. Homes are intimate spaces and sharing them can increase the intimacy between the people sharing the space.

We’ve hosted families for casual dinners, themed homeschool celebrations, and even family worship nights that focus on food, hymns and scripture study. God’s people often gathered together in homes, and by “breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46).

We recently moved twenty minutes from our old town and have been in a state of remembering to “Make new friends, but keep the old.” The arrival of baby goats on our property aided in this, and we’ve had many families visit to see them.

Some stay for dinner or even a holiday celebration. Others simply need a glass of water.

We have invited next-door neighbors, a family from church, our friends from our old neighborhood, and more. The simple act of opening our gate to children, adults, and the elderly alike has been a gift to them and us.

One woman in her 70s joined us for Easter lunch, she had never been around farm animals, and her gratitude and joy blessed our family immensely.

You can foster friendship with hospitality:

  • Treat guests as part of the family. Allow them to help with food prep or cleanup.
  • Use question starter games to increase connectivity during the meal.
  • Don’t worry about perfection: If you feel the spirit leading you to invite someone in, but there is a pile of laundry, do it anyway.

Hospitality as a Means of Connecting With Jesus

Welcoming others requires preparation or sacrifice. We clean, we cook, we decorate, we set aside our preferences, and we do extra dishes.

Though we could focus on the burden, it is an opportunity for us to connect with Jesus.

We can offer our homes and recipes to Him. We can pray over the people who will enter, and we can strive to maintain a spirit-filled home that will build others up.

There are subtle and overt ways to connect with Jesus while people are in our homes. Are we welcoming? Is the home a place of peace and order? Is there scripture on the wall? Is uplifting music playing in the background?

We can increase the intentionality and pray before the meal, share how God has been working in our lives as we dine together and ask heart-probing questions. We can include guests in our normal evening devotions or singing.

In scripture, we see homes as places where people connect with Jesus, and we can continue that pattern. Jesus and his disciples were often welcomed into homes where food and fellowship were the focus. Their bodies and their relationships were strengthened in those homes.

In our years of hosting, we have had weekly growth groups, monthly family worship, a moms’ mentorship summer study and even a college student for weekly mentorship.

The welcoming in of college students has been a unique and impactful form of hospitality. Once a week for a year, our young friend came over during the day. She played with the kids, asked me questions while I chopped food for dinner and folded towels with me while sharing her life.

I was able to pour into her, and she was also able to be an example to my daughters of young adults following Jesus.

You can connect with Jesus with your guests:

  • Pray together: Let each guest pray for the meal or ask if they have a request before you pray.
  • Ask questions with a spiritual focus.
  • Invite people for specific times of prayer, worship, mentorship, or study. Plan consistent times for meetings to deepen the connection.

Being Willing to Share

In its simplest form, hospitality is the willingness to share your life, your space and your supplies.

When done with a heart toward Jesus, the ultimate host who is preparing a place and a feast for us, hospitality is a powerful way to share Christ, connect with others, and experience joy.

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