Tag Archives: hospitality

Teach Community

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.  

Recently, I’ve realized that a theme has been cropping up to much of my reading, my podcast-listening, and my conversations. I must be in a certain sort of place in my life where God has started to push me in a specific direction, but I may have been too daft to notice it.

My husband and I made a decision when we started thinking about having kids (I know, this is related, I promise). We decided that we wouldn’t stop our social life just because I was pregnant, or simply because we had added a member to our family. For us, that meant  going out to events or dinner or drinks with friends. But what it really meant for us was continuing to have people over to our house. We’ve always had friends over for dinner several times a week, inviting new friends, bringing together old friends, and hosting our families in our home. It helps that my husband is a great cook (can I get an “amen”?!), but we have always loved the fact that our home is a place where people can gather, and we didn’t want that to stop when we suddenly had another (tiny) person that needed to be planned around.

Which brings me to the point of connecting these two thoughts. We’ve always had the desire to have lots of people and lots of good conversation in our home. And recently I’ve listened to two podcasts (unrelated, and not necessarily on this topic) that touched on gathering people into your home, inviting them to be a part of your life and it’s a running theme in two of the books I’ve been reading. Gathering and community-building has also been a theme in the church plant that I’m a part of, and a new job I just took at a local non-profit.

See? I told you I was probably daft to not get it until now.

I’m noticing that even more than usual, I am called to build community. Relationships. Connections. Yes, it looks different in each area of my life, but the goal is the same. Make meaningful connections. Help build relationships. Create a space for community to happen. On top of those things, I have a desire for people to feel welcome and wanted. I want them to feel like they are a part of something bigger.

Because at the end of the day, we are. We are a part of something bigger. We are an integral part, each of us, of the tapestry that God is weaving throughout humanity. We are lost souls, left to wander, if we don’t know about His loving pursuit of us. He has a great destiny for our lives, and all we have to do is come into His family and follow Jesus.

Jesus was the ultimate community builder. He gathered people from far and wide and welcomed them. Even people who had no business being near him, right? People who were usually shunned were welcomed at his table, into his life and his ministry. And as a mother, what more important thing could I let my children witness as they grow up? I want them to know intrinsically how important community is, to see it firsthand. My hope is that they will see the theme of community woven throughout their lives as well, and will, in turn, welcome people to their homes and pour into their own communities. It’s a part of what we’re called to do.

The Most Unlikely Guest

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

Our house sometimes feels like grand central station.

We constantly come and go, and have friends, family members, babysitters, and sometimes others coming and going as well. We have what might be called an open door policy: people are welcome at most hours of most days. We host people several times a week, at different times of day, in various states of “clean” or “put together”.

But what we’ve realized is that people don’t care about dirty floors or a sink full of dishes. Well, most of them, thank goodness. They don’t care that I’ve typically got at least one kid clad only in underwear. They don’t mind that we’re just getting home, or preparing to leave, or that it’s bedtime and we need to be absent for twenty or thirty minutes. What they do care about is that they can come, just as crazy, flustered and broken as we are, and be welcomed. They can walk in, throw off their burdens and their self-consciousness and just be with us. We try to hold off on judgements and even advice-giving, and just show love, acceptance, and grace.

There are two reasons we do this. First, it’s what I would want someone to do for me. For example, when I show up to church on Sunday and Thursday mornings, I have two or three kids in tow, as well as all my belongings I’ll need for a morning of worship and work. I’m packing breakfast and activities for the kiddos, backpacks, jackets, my iPad and purse, waters for all, coffee for survival and whatever junk I’ve already acquired onto myself for the morning. If I came into an environment of shame, I’d crumble immediately. There would be no way to survive the next few hours without a group of people who love me, and know my situation as well as my heart. I need their grace and acceptance as I attempt to lead them – while wrangling my children and their breakfast.

The second reason is that Christ calls us into a spirit of hospitality, acceptance, love, and grace. He calls us to open our hearts, minds, homes and lives to ministry of all types. Working in a church or on a predetermined mission field is not the only way to minister to the masses. Sometimes, living life alongside someone, not hiding your blemishes and flaws, and genuinely loving someone is a bigger testament to what I believe and whom I represent than if I were to force Scriptures or sermons on a stranger, trying to convince them I knew what I was talking about. (Nothing against evangelism with strangers – just presenting another kind of evangelism opportunity.)

Hospitality can feel, at times, like too much work. But just presenting an opportunity for relationship to happen, together with people who either need or want to be a part of the message that’s told by your life can make a huge impact on even the most unlikely guest.