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Invite Them In

Fun fact–my major in college was actually hospitality management.

Because of my education, I sort of viewed hospitality as big events: weddings, super bowl, concerts, corporate gatherings, etc. But as I’ve been growing with God, I am beginning to see the biblical call to hospitality on the smaller scale, particularly the impact one can have by simply inviting someone into their home.

When we open our homes to the students we are ministering to we are letting them in on our lives just by inviting them to walk through the threshold. We are in their world all day: on campus, on the dorm floor, in the sorority house, eating in the dining hall and working out alongside them in the gym. But as soon as they step into our home, they are in ours. They are getting to see our personal lives, not just the glimpse of us they get in a gospel appointment, Bible study or large group setting.

We are letting them in on who we are when the world isn’t looking. I can’t tell you how many girls have seen my husband and I process a decision, serve one another or disagree with each other. That’s so healthy!

So many students never get the opportunity to see a man who loves God and a woman who loves God, love, serve and honor each other. What a blessing to them and critical for them to build a healthy perspective on marriage before they themselves are pursuing it.

But I can say with all transparency that even though I’m writing this to encourage you in your hospitality, it doesn’t always come easily to me.

1 Peter 4:8-11 says:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Truth time. I am married to a social butterfly who is energized by other humans. That is not me.

There are times when I want to hang a sign outside with these bold words plastered on it: “WE ARE CLOSED.”

For as much as I enjoy hosting, I also enjoy the quiet of our home, I enjoy alone time. So when Peter says to “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” That my friends, penetrates to dividing the soul and spirit.

But then I’m reminded of 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.”

As well as these words from Peter: “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

There are definitely times when I want to mark our home as “Out of Season.”

We are not here.

We are taking no visitors.

I’m tired.

I want alone time.

Our house is dirty.

I don’t have time.

You name it, I’ve said it.

But this verse says be prepared regardless. Be prepared to invite someone in, to offer hospitality. We are challenged to do so with the strength that God Himself provides, not with our own, because our own won’t cut it. Our own strength eventually runs out, cue my inner self screaming “EVERYBODY LEAVE.”

Unfortunately, even though we understand the call, we can be so tempted to not respond.

There really are plenty of fears we are giving in to and lies we are believing that hinder us from intentional hospitality.

These 5 Hindrances are just a few that have kept me from pursuing hospitality:

Hindrance #1: This is our place of peace.
Hindrance #2: Crowds overwhelm me.
Hindrance #3: I’m not good at planning a fun gathering.
Hindrance #4: It messes with my daily routine.
Hindrance #5: It takes too much work.

Here is what’s true. We can’t serve anyone, or minister to anyone in any meaningful and lasting capacity apart from depending on God. Every one of those hindrances are rooted in self-centeredness. We must let go of self and choose to depend on Him to give us the energy, the desire, the ideas and the people to pursue.

As we pursue and take a step of faith towards intentional hospitality, we can trust Him for the results. I have personally seen Him provide fun memories, authenticity and depth in relationships.

When girls come over to hang out we bake cookies and talk about what we are learning from God’s Word. We get motivated by Marie Kondo and totally revamp a space in my home as we talk about sin we are struggling with. We sip on tea, smoothies or lattes as we pray for those we are trying to impact spiritually together. We dream about how God could use their faithfulness as we fold laundry. We process the gospel as we play fetch with my dog.

I asked one of my disciples recently where she most enjoys meeting, and her response was: “Your home is my favorite place to spend time together. It feels more personal and makes it easier to open up and really talk and not be afraid someone will overhear us.” It seems so much easier just to meet someone for lunch or grab coffee with them. Truth be told It’s always been a battle for me to fight against “coffee shop discipleship” because coffee runs through my veins. I’m convinced it’s what keeps my heart beating. But I cannot deny the opportunity I am missing for next level connection with students if I stop there.

Take the step of faith. Disrupt your routine. Embrace the inconvenience and invite someone to step through the threshold.