This world is full of people needing to be loved and ministered to, especially this year. This has been a rough season for so many with financial hardships, health scares, and social isolation. While everyone deserves our kindness and hospitality, I’ve realized that there are groups of people that sometimes need a little more than others. These are people that often feel loneliness first and it effects them the hardest. Maybe you’ve identified some of these people in your own circle. If so, that’s great! You can start extending hospitality to them in practical ways. If not, I’ve broken down into 5 categories the main groups of people I think we can start with. Out of these groups we can easily identify those who need a helping, or encouraging, hand. We can then use our talents and God given gifts to bless them while we practice hospitality as Christ commands.
1.) College/Seminary students
Think back to when you were in college. You were broke, away from home, and sometimes just needed a hot meal and an ear to listen. Consider connecting with a local college or seminary. Work with student services and maybe offer to host a dinner one night for a few struggling students. Seminary is a great way to reach out to families that need a little hospitality. Care packages are another way to show some hospitality to college students. Little baskets filled with nutritious snacks, soaps, and office supplies are much appreciated. This is a practical and tangible way to be a huge blessing to this demographic.
2.) New parents
When you’ve just had a brand new baby, sometimes it’s all you can do just to survive. Offer to babysit the older children, or come rock the baby, while they nap. Consider taking them a meal a few nights during those first weeks. A great tool is a website called Meal Train. It helps set up meal schedules for new parents. See link and description on my Resources page for more information. Even just dropping off a package of diapers and wipes can be a huge blessing to overwhelmed new parents. Consider mailing them a congratulations care with words of encouragement, practical advice, or favorite parenting books.
3.) Church family
Our church family is in desperate need of our hospitality. Look around the room and you’ll see hundreds of faces crying out for help in some way. One family might need a meal or even a bag of groceries. One couple might be desperate for a date night without kids. A housewife might need to be invited out for coffee and a listening ear. Some teenagers may need a fun safe game night with friends. Visitors may need someone to sit beside them and ask about their story. There are endless opportunities to show hospitality and love in our church if we look for them. Pray as you walk int o your worship service and ask God to reveal someone that needs your hospitality this week.
4.) Out of town/country guests (for parties, weddings, or funerals)
I’ll never forget the time my husband and I had to unexpectedly drive to Florida for a funeral. It was last minute and we were searching for hotels are we were driving. We got a call that said a sweet lady that knew the family reserved a hotel for us. It was such a blessing, we wept at her kindness and praised God for His goodness. Maybe you have room in your home and can put someone up there instead of a hotel. Either way, it’s such a blessing for people to not have to worry about the hassle and cost of lodging while they’re coming in from out of town. It’s a special way to make them feel invited and welcomed.
5.) Your own family
We have to be careful that we don’t spend so much time offering hospitality to those outside our home that we neglect the ones inside our home. Our family needs our hospitality too. Your husband may need you to put down your dishrag and watch that movie with him. Your child may need you to cook their favorite meal or surprise them with their favorite dessert. Maybe it means packing a backyard picnic and leaving your phone inside to focus fully on them. It could mean a full on family vacation away from everything else. Whatever it looks like, be sure your family doesn’t suffer at your hospitable hand. Our family is, and should always be, our first mission field for hospitality. Our family should never feel like they are not as worthy of our love as our guests are.
As we practice the art of hospitality, it gets easier and we get more comfortable with it. We get more comfortable reaching out our hands, inviting in to our home, and opening up our hearts. Let us live a life of constant practice so that through us someone else may find love, healing, and rest. Keeping an open heart, and open door, is a beautiful way to fulfill our biblical command to extend hospitality.