Starting this month, I’m giving myself a challenge – a challenge that I hope the Spirit will use to grow me in Christ-likeness and grow Christ’s church at the same time.
I’m calling it the Once a Month Hospitality Challenge: Intentionally opening heart and home to grow the church.
Once a month for the next four months, my family and I will host lunch immediately following the Sunday morning worship service for visitors to our church.
To be intentional about fulfilling the biblical command to practice hospitality.
To be intentional about building relationships.
To be intentional about growing our church.
Nothing binds a church together faster than a full heart and a full table. It’s what the Spirit does: he fills us up and fixes us together so we’re a testimony of his grace.
For those reasons, we’ve found that hospitality has been a huge factor in my family’s own church planting journey.
On a pre-selected date, my plan is to have a meal ready to go when I leave for church in the morning. But because I can’t do this alone, I asked another church family to partner with us. This family has a heart for building relationships and entertaining, so I’m very excited to serve with them. Plus, they are some of our very favoritest (new word!) people in whole wide world.
The guests? For the most part, we’ll leave that up to God. Sometimes, the invite list will depend on who shows up for church that morning. I want to be ready for any opportunities to connect. But I particularly want to reach out to new members and recurring guests who haven’t assimilated into church life yet. Those invites will happen in advance.
Next, we’ll invite church family members who need encouragement and any other guests God brings our way.
It’s sure to be difficult. I’ll probably be waiting for the pastor to say “Amen” in his closing prayer much like a track runner poised at the starting line of a race track. And then I’ll frantically make a mad dash to the house to get dinner on the table before our guests arrive.
It’s sure to be inconvenient. There’ll probably be cancellations, schedule changes, sickness, and more.
It’s sure to be messy. My five-year-old twinadoes will make sure of that! But that’s what life is! I don’t pretend to imagine that opening both heart and home to friends and strangers alike would be anything other than that – messy!
But, I know it will be really fun. And, above all, it should be exhilarating to see how God fills us with his love so that we can pour it out for others.
Oh, and here’s the kicker. To up the ante, I’m going to try to meet this challenge without buying anything new! No cute plates, no new serving dishes, no sweet little hand towels for the guest bath.
It’s not that those things are unnecessary, it’s just I know myself. I can turn any chance to open my home into a party, and I’d rather spend time preparing myself to open my heart instead. All the “stuff of entertaining” can easily become a distraction for me and before I know it, I’ve taken my eyes off the Person who helps me love the people in front of me and focused them on pretty things instead.
So, I’m budgeting for food and paper goods. That’s all.
Think I can do it? I’m a little unsure. But I hope you’ll follow along, because I sure could use your encouragement!
I’ll be posting about our meals (the dishes that made the grade and those that flopped – because there are sure to be a few of those!), the lessons we learn along the way, and how God orchestrates the meal and the company for his glory.
Full heart. Full table. Once a Month Hospitality Challenge. Join in! Subscribe to Hive Resources so you don’t miss any of this series.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Rom. 12:10-13
While you’re here, be sure to enter the giveaway for the illustrated Bible memory set of Ps. 91 by Heart Binder Innovations! Contest ends tomorrow!
I’m linking up with Thought-Provoking Thursday.