Launch Pad 8: Practice Hospitality

The Bible has an amazing vision of the potential use of our homes for sharing the gospel. But the instruction to ‘practice hospitality’ is sometimes filed away under the heading “fellowship”, and the subsequent invitations restricted to other church folks.

Sometimes people are put-off because they confuse hospitality with “entertainment”.  Hospitable church-planter Tim Chester says that while entertainment involves putting on a show in which the house and the food must all be wonderful; hospitality is about sharing your normal life and your space with others. Entertainment seeks to impress, hospitality to embrace.

Friendly, down-to-earth, open-house hospitality achieves three things which can be transformative in our evangelism:

  1. Hospitality enacts the gospel

One of Jesus’s favourite metaphors for the Kingdom of God was of a party, or banquet to which God invites us. By not limiting our invitations to those who can repay us, or to whom we have some obligation, we become a living parable of the gospel of grace. It also costs us something—and that also looks Christ-like.

  1. Hospitality reflects the character of God

God is generous and loves his house to be full of people. In fact, Jesus says he is preparing his Father’s house for us. Repeatedly scripture says that people are supposed to reflect the character of God, so that others notice. The Bible regularly implies that an open heart towards others, will mean an open home too (if you have one).

  1. Hospitality is the context for great conversations.

Some of the most famous teaching we have from Jesus was shared around mealtimes. It is over food that we see Jesus engaging with everyone from the Pharisees of the religious elite, to socially ostracised tax-collectors. Tim Chester writes: “Jesus’s mission-strategy was a long meal”. Likewise, when we have (i) the desire to share the gospel, (ii) some tools to share it – what we then need is a context and an opportunity. Hospitality helps to create this environment in which to naturally share our faith. Practicing hospitality doesn’t make evangelism completely easy – but it makes it far more likely! So this week, make a conscious effort to open your home and your life to others, and make sure you don’t only welcome other Christians.

And pray: “Father, thank-you for my home. Please help me to make it into a place where others can find you. Amen”

Previously: Launch Pad # 7 Taking Conversations One Step Deeper

Next: Launch Pad #9 Persistently Praying for People