Changing the World from Your Front Door
Let’s be honest, hospitality gets a bad rap. We have hijacked the definition of hospitality and replaced it with social entertaining that conjures up ideas of perfectly adorned rooms, dinner parties, and elaborate table settings. But, what if hospitality was more than meaningless entertaining? What if we used hospitality as a means to share the gospel and invite others into the presence of God? Imagine a world where homes were being used all across neighborhoods, to open the door, invite people in, cultivate relationships, and integrate people into the life of a local church. Our homes would become something more than we have deemed them to be – they would become a weapon for the gospel.
Our Mission is the Gospel
As a Christian woman, we have to ask ourselves two questions: what is our mission? And how can we use our homes in assisting us in that mission? The answer to these two questions is found in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. In the Great Commission, we are told to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) and in the Great Commandment we are commanded to love God and love others (Matthew 22:34-40). So, what does making disciples, loving God, and loving others have to do with our home?
The church today has cultivated highly sophisticated tools for evangelism. However, in scripture, we see the early church simply going from house to house studying God’s Word together, praying, breaking bread, and fellowship (Acts 2:42). It was the home that was the center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity. And it was the church, using the home in the correct manner, that helped spread the gospel. Just like the early church, your home can have a huge impact on the kingdom when used intentionally.
The Great Commission is this: because you have been with Jesus, go be with people so they can be with Jesus. The Great Commission may carry you to the ends of the world, but it starts in your home. We have a saying at our church: the entrance into our church is through the front door of our homes. Over the years, we have challenged our members to surrender their homes to God so they can be used to introduce people to Him, then lead them to His bride. When we willingly open our homes to others, we aren’t just being nice. We are being obedient to God’s Word. Hospitality is one of the simplest ways to engage in God’s mission and change the world. It is simply integrating people into our lives and in our homes for the purpose of welcoming them into a relationship with God. The essence of hospitality stems from a spiritual heart, not a physical home. Do you love God and do you love people?
A Weapon for the Gospel
This may not be radical news. You may rightly understand that our mission is to make disciples as part of the Great Commission. But, have you made the Great Commission exclusive from what you do in your home? Often, we think of mission as something that we prescribe to a Pastor, a Southern Baptist agency, or deem it as something that happens outside the four walls of our homes – that, if anything, our homes are even a retreat from any Christian mission that we may be involved in. in doing so, however, we waste a powerful and God-ordained means of changing the world.
In their book, The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life, Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements call our homes to be “weapons for the Gospel”:
“As it turns out we have more fulfilling and rewarding purpose for our homes than using them exclusively for our benefit and comfort…Instead of being an oasis of self-interest, they can be transformed into a weapon for the gospel – a four-walled tool to wield in God’s cosmic battle against evil and sin. As we do this, we become the type of counterculture that puts God’s generosity on display.”
So, what does it mean for our homes to be a weapon for the Gospel? A weapon is defined as a means of “gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest.” By this definition, we can leverage our homes against the enemy in order to impact, engage, and influence our communities in the days ahead. The secret weapon for gospel advancement is hospitality, and you can practice it whether you live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, or a high-rise. It takes only your willingness to open your home and life to others.
Jesus said that in His kingdom, the “smallest of all seeds” will leave a lasting impact much larger than expected (Matthew 13:31-32). In the same way, the “smallest” things in our lives – ordinary conversations, meals, tables, and our homes – can have a much larger impact than you’d ever imagine when harnessed with gospel intentionality. We have an obligation to use our homes to engage the lost, not entertain them.
Practical Rhythms of Hospitality
- Simplify the Details: The purpose is not to wow with the most amazing food or impress with your immaculately decorated home. When inviting people into your home, keep the details simple. When sharing a meal, try something like tacos, pasta, or a slow cooker dish.
- Put Hospitality in Your Budget: We can train our hearts to love and value hospitality by putting resources toward hosting people into our homes. This does not have to be an extravagant amount, just enough to consistently provide a meal to those you welcome.
- Start With a Neighbor: Start with having small, but intentional conversations with a neighbor next door. I know that every day, between 3:45-4:00pm, one of my neighbors is getting home from work. Therefore, that is the time that I have set aside to check the mail and have a brief, but intentional conversation with the family.
- Just Open the Door: It is easy to talk about and even prepare for hospitality and never get around to putting it into practice. Simply open your door and watch God use your willingness and obedience to draw others to Him.
- Themed Rhythms: One thing that helps our family integrate opportunities to use our home is by creating themed nights geared to reaching and fellowshipping with a variety of people. These themed nights do not change very often, therefore they help with keeping things simple. A few that we have done are: Taco Tuesday, Host a Home Group/Bible Study (Potluck Style), Game Nights, Play Dates, Rotating Supper Club, Football & Pizza Night, and Holiday Parties.
Whether we live in an apartment, dorm room, or house, whether we’re single or married, young or old, we all have at our disposal a simple way to display who God is and how He loves – our homes.
Friend, use your home like a lost and dying world depend on it. Because it does.
The Simplest Way To Change The World: Biblical Hospitality As A Way Of Life, 24.