Struggling to Show Hospitality? 6 Simple Ideas to Get You Started

One of the simplest pleasures of human life is to share it with others. One way to do that is to invite others into our home.

1 Peter 4:9 says

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God

But with all the best intentions to invite others into our world, into our homes, and to be hospitable, not everyone finds it easy to open the door. If you’re a seasoned pro at hosting then this article probably isn’t for you! This is for the gal that wants to open the door to others, but constantly finds herself making excuses to keep it closed!

Have you ever had a friend say: “You guys need to come over soon. Let’s get a date in the dairy” but it never happens?

Or maybe you’re the one who’s been meaning to invite that nice couple over but you keep procrastinating.

Or you keep saying you’re going to invite your neighbour over for dinner and get to know them, but when you see them on the way to the car or over the garden fence, you wave ‘Hi’ and keep it moving INSTEAD of extending that invitation.

Or maybe you’ve spotted a new person at church or work that’s new to the area and they always appear to be alone, but you just can’t seem to stretch out a welcoming hand… although you want to. Maybe you’re the one putting off opening the door and sharing that invite.

Scriptures and simple ideas for biblical hospitality

The Excuses

I often hear ladies say “I really want to have ‘X’ over”, followed by:

…but I’m not good at organising stuff

…but I don’t know how to host

…but I’m so busy

…but I need to wait until my house is tidy/painted/re-carpeted/[add other excuses]

…but I can’t cook

…but I don’t have the money to buy…

Throw The Need For Perfection Out The Window

In an attempt to be the perfect host, with the perfectly tidy home and the best entertainment, we can often attach undue stress and pressure to being hospitable. But girl, opening the door does not have to be complicated or high pressure!

Trust me, as a recovering perfectionist that felt she had to lay the table prettily, keep the house perfectly tidy, start shopping several days before I hosted (and I over-shopped every time), make sure the meal was cooked perfectly on time, I’ve learned to throw my own high expectations and that of others in to the recycling containers with the rest of the trash.

When it comes to hospitality you just have start and simplicity is a great place to begin.

You don’t have to create a banging 3-course meal suggested by Jamie Oliver, that includes some organic ingredient that you can only get from some small village 700 miles away on the coast of a place you’ve never heard of.

You don’t have to spend 6 days tidying and polishing your house and aiming for perfection to then find that your guest feels like they can’t touch anything or put their glass down anywhere because you are hovering over them re-straightening things and re-plumping the cushions up every time they leave the sofa. Girl, just chill, you’re making me exhausted just thinking about your house-proud obsession.

To be hospitable, you don’t have to demonstrate the cooking and hosting abilities of Nigella and A-class tablescaping skills. You don’t have to blow your budget organising an event to remember.

What you need is simple; a heart for others. From there all beautiful hospitality flows. Because showing hospitality is not about showcasing that you are the perfect host, it’s about showing grace and love to the one whom you’ve extended an invitation. It’s about meeting a need that they have.

Present over perfect. That is the key to meaningful hospitality.

Biblical hospitality is about being present over perfect

Start With Simplicity – Here are 6 ideas for ya!

So are ready to dash your excuses aside and open the doors to guests?  Don’t know where to start? Well check out these 5 suggestions to give you a starting place, without breaking the bank or giving you too much planning or pressure:

  1. Opt for simplicity – A full-blown meal, 3 courses and all that is great. But if cooking a huge meal is not your forte, you really don’t have to start there. Start with smaller meals and if you want to, you can work up to that over time. Instead, extend an invitation for:

  • Tea & Coffee – Simply make hot drinks and provide cake and biscuits
  • A movie night – Simply a film, popcorn, and drinks – a good film can spark great discussions
  • Brunch or Lunch – Sandwiches, crisps and fruit or pastries, salad and fruit with hot or cold beverages
  • Afternoon tea – scones, cream, jam, sandwiches and cake with hot or cold beverages
  • Hot chocolate night – make hot chocolate and provide squirty cream, marshmallows, and cinnamon (plus any other toppings) for people to top their drinks.
  • Nacho night – place nachos on plates. Put various toppings in separate bowls (jalapeños, salsa, sour cream, and cheese) on the table and people can help themselves. You can even shove them in the oven to melt the cheese. This is one of my faves.
  • Bring & Share – This is great for large groups. Tell everyone to bring their favourite snacks.
  • Games – Invite a few people over to play a game. Any game. Board games, cards or make one up! Some sweets, crisps usually goes down great!

Cup of hot chocolate - simple ideas for biblical hospitality

 

  1. Give Your Invitation An End Time

If this is your first time hosting or having this group of friends over, you might want to give your social an end time

Of course, if you don’t want an end time that is fine too. You can all just freestyle, but when it’s the first time having people over there can come that awkward moment when guests are thinking, ‘hmmm should I be leaving now’? With having an end time in advance, it can take the pressure off when it gets to home time.

This is also a great tool if you have young kids and you need to stick to their bedtime routine.

Another reason this is great is so you and your guests can make other plans too.

Many of us have that one friend that doesn’t sleep and wants to stay up chatting until the early hours of the morning. But this won’t always be great if you’re hosing on a work night.  If need to go to bed because you have work in the morning it can feel rude to ask a new guest to leave. So setting that boundary beforehand is a wonder!

So, instead of saying “come over for 4pm” note no end time.  You can say “come over for 4pm for a couple of hours” or “we’d love to have you over from about 4 to 7-ish”

I hosted something at my house at the end of last year, I think it was afternoon tea. I stated that it was from 12pm to 4pm which was perfect for a Saturday because both myself and my guests could plan other things that evening.

Or it gives you plenty of time to clear up and still relax for the evening.

 

  1. Be Spontaneous

Just do it. Just invite someone over on the day. That way there’s no a build-up and you have less time to get anxious about it.

For example, I know multiple ladies that start cooking dinner before they go to church on a Sunday (praise the Lord for slow cookers!). All you have to do one day is throw in a little extra in the pot than usual. Then, when you get to church invite someone over to join you for dinner.

 

  1. Take Turns To Host With Friends.

So a couple of years ago I decided to start a friends Come Dine With Me. Just like the T.V. show, we took it in turns to cook each other a meal. There were 5 of us. Once a month for 5 months, we went to a different friend’s home and they cooked. It’s a great way to share hospitality and hosting with friends. Trying all of these different meals is a fabulous opportunity to develop your taste buds and your relationships!

 

  1. Host A Book Club

  • Decide on a book that would suit your group of friends.
  • Choose a start date and the timescale over which you’ll read the book. Send that to your friends and ask them to get the book before the start date.
  • You can communicate via all sorts of media these days, Facebook group, Whatsapp group, IG group
  • Choose a regular time and place to meet to discuss the book
  • Prepare a few conversation starters. A lot of authors these days give prompt questions at the back of the book or have some sort of workbook online, so you can use these to get the ball rolling. Or you can pick out a bit that stuck out to you and use that to create a discussion point.
  • As the host, you can also delegate and ask others to lead each session

The best thing about hosting a book club is that it gives purpose and intentionality to your hospitality and you can do them anywhere so you don’t always have to host it at home.

When I did my last book club, which was ‘Sensible Shoes’ by Sharon Garlough Brown, I held a session at my local Starbucks (although I’m not a huge Starbucks fan, but that’s another blog post). The group got to bond over a grace-laced book, and it was cheap and cheerful because we just needed the book, a coffee (or extra hot steamed milk with sugar free hazelnut syrup) and a pen to make good notes, and hey presto, you have opened the door.

 

  1. Start A Bible Club

This is really the same as the above, except you choose a book of the Bible to read together. The idea is that you get together to discuss the Bible passages regularly. This is a great reason to have people over. Drinks and some healthy snacks are a nice addition. Apps like You Version offer great reading plans. Or you can download our Journalling with Joy in the resources area.

 

Why send an invitation?

My real desire behind this post is to encourage you to welcome others in if you don’t already. It doesn’t have to feel like hard work and a massive stressful chore to host. As women of God, we are called to be hospitable.

Biblical hospitality is not about perfect table settings, perfect homes, and perfect menus. Opening your door to others and showing hospitality is about demonstrating love. It’s welcoming someone, not just into your home but into your heart. Hospitality is about saying ‘We’ve made room for you at the table’, just like Christ has made room for us all at His.

“Hospitality is sharing what we have and who we are, with whomever God sends” – The Thomas Nelson Woman’s Study Bible

Biblical Hospitality

 

Romans 12:13 The Passion Translation (TPT)

 “Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home”

The Christian Standard Bible puts it like this:

“Share with the saints in their needs; PURSUE hospitality”

The word ‘pursue’ means to follow or chase or go swiftly after something or someone. This is how we should feel about showing hospitality to others. About showing love to others. Let us chase the opportunity to serve with the gift that God has given us to bless others.

As women of God, we are to take an interest in the needs of those amongst us. Often when someone requests coaching and mentoring from me, they tell me what they need and would like to be coached and mentored in. But often I find that there’s an underlying need besides the topic they initially brought up.

Similarly, often you’ll find that when you think you are just having someone over for tea, coffee and biscuits, there’s usually another need that you end up serving. That person might need encouragement that day, companionship, someone to listen to them, a good laugh, to get out of the house, they could’ve been feeling lonely…

 

God Be My Strength & May You Be Glorified

If we go back to our very first scripture on this post, 1 Peter 4:9 which says “Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God” it continues like this…. ”

“If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves let it be from the strength that God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him be all the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen”

Try one of our simple suggestions for hosting, but time next you feel overwhelmed or even burdened by the idea of hosting or showing hospitality, remember that when you serve, you can draw on God for strength. The word of God says He will provide it.

And when you serve with the strength He gives you, ultimately God gets the glory. A simple invitation can change a life forever. Maybe that person has been pointed in your direction in your direction so that you can point them to Him.

Send your invitation today. Someone needs it.

scriptures on biblical Hospitality

 

Let’s make opening up the door to others a part of our evangelism. As ambassadors for the Lord, we invite others to our table, the table of hope, to be nourished, heart, body and soul. We serve by opening a door where others can experience God’s love. Who can invite into your heart and home today?

18 And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. 19 In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world,  not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God. 20 We are ambassadors of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world, as though God were tenderly pleading with them directly through our lips. So we tenderly plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Turn back to God and be reconciled to him.” 21 For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.

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