Five Steps to Practice Hospitality in your Home

Chris Morris
July 21 2022


Globally, an increasing number of believers are first meeting Jesus in a home. Our homes are becoming more and more important as centers of mission. For your neighbours, your home might be the most important opportunity they have to meet Jesus.

In the first part of this series, we explored why hospitality as mission is so important. If you haven’t read it, you can find part one here: Hospitality as Mission

Today, we are looking at a roadmap to practicing hospitality in our homes.

First Steps to Hospitality as Mission

Restoring the Vision for your Village

I want you to think of your neighbourhood as a village. By restoring your vision for your neighbourhood as your village, you are going to be released and have a higher expectation of how God wants to impact your neighborhood.

You can start by drawing a map of your neighborhood, everything that's within a 10-minute walk.

As you learn how to see your neighborhood, as you learn how to take responsibility to pray intercessory prayer, to pray missional prayers for your neighborhood, it will cease to be streets and homes and it will become people.

God will help you learn how to pray for the people of your neighbourhood. As you start to map it out, you will know where the blank spaces are, you will know what you need to keep exploring, you will know what you need to keep praying about, you will know that there are people that you need to meet.

Commit to the Practice of Hospitality

Hospitality is a lifestyle, not an instant event.

Hospitality is a practice that we must actually practice.  

How often will you practice hospitality? I would recommend if you don't have a commitment in place already, that you imagine hosting or being hosted by someone else once a month, at a minimum. So, 12 times a year you will practice hospitality. It’s up to you whether that's a good fit for you and your household, but I encourage you to set a goal and achieve that goal each year.

Ready to start? Here is a 5-step strategy for practicing hospitality in your home…

5-Step Strategy for Hospitality in Our Homes

1. Open the Door: Prayer

Begin with a prayer strategy.

First, get your whole household praying that guests will come when invited. Dedicate your home and ask God to bring people to your home so that you can practice hospitality with them. I encourage you not to skip this step. Many of us feel very active and we want to go onto the next stage right away. But we must set the prayer goals first because we don’t want to be practicing hospitality in our own power. We need to be practicing hospitality in the power of God and in Christian community.

Every time you see your front door, remember your commitment to pray. 

Secondly, practice prayer-walking. Prayer-walk in your neighbourhood, through those areas you’ve drawn on your neighbourhood map. You can invite people from your home, or other believers that you know, to prayer walk with you.

Prayer walking is a missional activity.

2. Mark the Calendar: Plan to Host & be Hosted

The second step is to go to your kitchen calendar (or your online calendar!) and decide who you will invite and when you are going to invite them. And then invite them.

If you don’t know many of your neighbours, invite people from your church that you know could use a visit. We can practice hospitality with other believers. And remember, this is a household activity. Please do not invite someone without communicating with the rest of your household that this is the plan.

I also think we must be ready to always say yes if someone else invites us! There are so many things that come up that try to get in the way, but if we are going to love people in the name of Jesus, we must say yes to invitations.

3. Set the Table: Share your food & time

For stage three, we are going to ‘set the table’. We’ve moved from the doorway, to the kitchen calendar, and now we’re going to set the table. This has everything to do with being intentional about sharing our family food and our family time.

We need to normalize this practice. As we share our food and our time, it is key to remember this isn’t a show. Remember that your goal is to make your guests feel at home; it is not to be ostentatious, it is not to demonstrate your "superior wealth", or "superior culture", or "superior family dynamics". You might want to run out and buy … 5 lobsters, but that’s not sustainable for any of us now. We need to do things that are reasonable; we want this to be a sustainable practice.

For those of you who might not be aware, it used to be a faux pas in Canada, in North American culture, to invite someone over and not cook the food yourself. I believe the culture around that is changing. Maybe ‘ordering in’ will be a good option for you when you host! Again, if you are going to go this route, remember to do something sustainable and affordable, not something that is impossible to repeat.

My favourite meal to serve when hosting is Chinese Hot Pot. I love serving Hot Pot – it only takes a little bit to prepare, the ingredients aren’t overly expensive and it’s a fun meal that you can all cook together. Some of the people we’ve invited over have never had hot pot before, so they find that to be a lot of fun! What is your favourite meal to serve when you are hosting?

Every time you wipe off your table, or put a plate on the table, I want you to remember that you’ve dedicated that table and you are setting it for mission so that you are prepared to host when the opportunities arise – whether that be for dinner, or coffee, or lunch or brunch.

A side note on crossing cultures

Statistically speaking, as you start inviting people to your home, those born outside of Canada are more likely to say yes and those born outside of Canada are more likely to reciprocate and invite you to their homes.

One of the challenges of crossing cultures is that there are cultures in which it could be very difficult for people to say yes to an invitation to your house, because they may have to worry if your food is halal or whether there will be practices in your home that challenge their religion or their culture. There are many examples of this. But, these same people may be more comfortable inviting you to their home.

Say “yes” when people invite you to their place and understand that there’s a special place in the heart of Jesus for people who reach out cross-culturally. And I’m not just talking about white people with non-white people. I am talking about all the cultures saying yes to each other and spending time with each other.

I don’t think we are going to get far in this mission of hospitality unless we are ready to invite people from a different cultural or ethnic or national background into our homes.  

4. Sit on the Couch: Love & Intimacy

This is when we move from the table to the couch (or the living room, or the back porch, or wherever your most social place is in your home).

Sometimes, people think this is the most important stage. I disagree; I think every stage is equally important. But for many people, this stage of conversation will feel like the scary stage.

Here’s a quick overview of our basic chaplaincy training when it comes to these sorts of conversations that we want to have “on the couch”. There are four goals that our chaplains are trained with:

A. Grow Authentic Relationships

That's your first goal. If you have grown the relationship by spending a little time with someone, then you've achieved that goal.

B. Listen Well

The second goal is to listen well. If you listen well to people, it unlocks them. They will share more, you will get to know them better, and you can divulge more about yourself in a healthy way at an appropriate time. You get to tell each other stories.

C. Ask Great Questions

The third goal is to ask great questions. Notice, the goal is not to tell people the truth and it is not to fix people. We need to listen well and then ask questions that show that we're curious, that we want to get to know them. Our agenda is not what we want to say, our agenda is them and loving them and getting to know them.

D. Connect people to Community Resources

Our fourth goal is to connect people to community - to find people that they need to meet. “You know, you need to meet so-and-so, they've gone through something similar to what you're going through” or “Oh, you should send your kid to our youth group”.

So, you grow their hope with help. Connecting people to the community around them, including secular resources and faith-based services and relationships, is how we build a community of God around those who are on the journey to Jesus, instead of trying to do it all ourselves.

5. Pump up the Air Mattress: Offer Sanctuary

The fifth stage is to be ready to offer sanctuary. We know that the stages get more difficult as we go. But here are a few things to remember:

  • This is not stage one. You don’t need to offer a place to sleep for someone that you’ve just started praying for. This is stage five. This is something that we arrive at when the need arises, not before we are ready. Each of these steps is a choice, and I’m not suggesting that you need to do this today.
  • Many of us think of this as a security issue, or a safety issue, but I would challenge you to think of this as a faith issue. If you don’t believe that your home is dedicated to the work of God, then you won’t see that it sometimes needs to become a sanctuary for people outside your family.

We can practice and start with the people of God. This could look like hosting for one or two nights:

  • Billeting visitors from out of town. Does your church have a guest speaker coming through who needs a place to stay?
  • Hosting missionaries. Missionaries often travel and need a place to stay. Why not in your home?

The next step is being ready to offer sanctuary to displaced people – in BC, we’ve seen displaced people due to the floods in 2021. What about people who are down on their luck or who’ve been evicted? As a workplace Chaplain, I can say we are going to see a lot more evictions in the future.

This stage might be hard. It might be messy. But that doesn’t mean it will be a disaster.

It does mean that it will take more faith. And maybe you need to grow your team of support so that you don’t need to deal with difficult or toxic people alone. But we cannot call ourselves the church if we do not offer sanctuary. I also believe that we have become “allergic” to the poor, even though we are the church, and this is something the Lord is trying to heal us of and challenge us on.

Maybe this step is too much right now, but maybe next year, or a few years from now you’ll be willing and ready, and equipped by God to take this step.

Your Home & Mission

Your home becomes the location of mission as the relationships with your guests grow and you love them in personal practical ways.

So, you’ve got to have guests.

And you’ve got to love them.  

I am very keen to see all of us extend the mission of God from our homes and to offer a model for more believers to do the same. I want to raise the expectations of mission at my house.

Let’s be missional Christians, who intentionally practice hospitality in the world, in a way that reflects the love of God and the mission of God.  

This blog article is based on content from the the webinar "Hospitality as Mission", presented by Chris Morris. 

Chris Morris is the National Director for Corporate Chaplains Canada. Chris graduated from SFU with a BA in English Literature and he has a Masters in Applied Theology from Regent College. After pastoring in Burnaby and then teaching overseas, Chris, his wife Lindly and their two girls returned to the Lower Mainland to join Corporate Chaplains Canada. While at Regent, he first heard of workplace chaplaincy and became intrigued at showing Christ’s love for people in the middle of their own life stories at work.

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