Saying YES to Hospitality

*This isn't a typical "Yes to Adoption" post, but I feel like the Lord has been stirring in my heart to show you a part of our family that we don't often blog about.*

Some of you may know that my husband is a college pastor here in Alabama. We moved here a year and a half ago from Raleigh after Will finished seminary. In NC, we often hosted our small group in our home, and since moving here we have a weekly small group in our home and frequently have students over for events or small dinners.

Hospitality is something that is not foreign to me, because my mother is probably the most hospitable person ever. She is also a pastor's wife, but she has set the bar super high. If she ever invites you over for coffee, don't expect the McGee treatment you would get at my house (pick a mug out of the cabinet, pour yourself a cup out of the pot and let me find the sugar) - she would have teacups on a tray with pretty napkins, a sweet treat and a variety of sugars/creamers. She's amazing!

But as a seminary wife-turned college pastor's wife-I don't have the same hospitality styles as my mom, but the heart is the same. Here's a couple of things I've learned about doing ministry in our home:

1. Hospitality can be Low-Key. To have people over, you don't have to set out the china or even have a clean house. Food doesn't have to be amazing. I've served hot dogs and chips to people! The point of having people over is to get to know each other and to have community, not to showcase your culinary skills (unless you have them- then by means, showcase them and invite us over while you're at it). The relationships that form over a cup of coffee are more important than the cup of coffee. Now, if you have the hospitality talents of my mother, and enjoy taking the time to set up a pretty tray or a festive feast- then do it! Keep your hospitality efforts within your means and in the boundaries of what keeps you from being stressed. When we first got married, I used to stress out every time we had company because I thought everything had to be perfect in our entire apartment. I couldn't even really enjoy the company because I was worried that everything wasn't exactly right. Slowly, I loosened up. I'm not a perfect host, and I have people over while the laundry is running and my diapers are hanging up to dry in the living room.

2. Hospitality is about Inviting People into your Life. I recently read a book where a pastor's wife said she was intentional about making sure everything wasn't perfect every time they had guests- and even would answer the door in her pjs or without makeup at times just to show people that she is a real person too. Having people into your home allows them to see more of you- from your home decorating style, to the pictures you value enough to frame (for us you will see that amazing touristy Western picture we got made at Myrtle Beach a few years ago- complete with moneybag and gun). There is something more casual about being in a home rather than a restaurant. In a home, you're not rushed by the timeline of your meal and how soon you need to give up your table. In a home, you are showing off your flaws, your messy corners (I have a lot of those) and sharing your favorite chair or coffee cup.

3. Hospitality makes you Reach our of your Comfort Zone. Having people into your home may BE your comfort zone. I know I would prefer to watch a movie on our small tv or in our backyard than at someone else's house because I love being home. But, for others, having people over is awkward at first. When we moved to AL last year, every time we invited someone over at first was out of our comfort zone. We were readjusting to Alabama culture and were forcing ourselves to pursue relationships- which is not comfortable or easy. But the fruit of stepping out is relationships. It may be hard for you to invite someone over because you have lots of crazy kids, or your family has strict diet restrictions and you're afraid you wouldn't please your guests. Get over it! As I mentioned before, having a hospitable spirit doesn't mean everything is perfect. If it is completely stressful to have friends over while your kids are awake, do it at naptime or at night. Have a cookout in the backyard where you don't feel as enclosed. But having a hospitable home will always require SOME sacrifice (keeping toilet paper in stock, required cleaning, etc). But it is worth it.

4. Hospitality Teaches your Kids about who you Accept. Who you accept into your home, and the type of relationships your family pursues is speaking to your children. If there is no diversity in your houseguests, you are teaching your children that only certain types of people are worth investing in, loving, and developing relationships with. As mentioned before, hospitality can be awkward at first- but the relationships are what is important. Ask coworkers, or fringe friends or moms from the park to come over for playdates or coffee. You are setting an example for your kids- and if you are not having a diverse kitchen table, then you are teaching your kids that diverse relationships do not belong in your home.

5. Hospitality Reflects the Gospel. I'm sure you will agree that it is much easier to share the good news of Christ with those you actually know. How else will you know people unless you open up to them and develop relationships? By developing relationships with others, especially those who don't have something to give back or couldn't reciprocate hospitality, you are demonstrating the gospel. Pursuing relationships with others on the basis of just knowing and loving them, is a way to live missionally in whatever your context is. Perhaps you are a stay at home mom, you could invite another woman to meet monthly or weekly (whether play date or coffee date) and develop a discipleship or accountability relationship. If you're not in relationships with others, you cannot be making disciples.

I hope you will see that this is something we are passionate about. I certainly fail a lot at being hospitable and often choose my own comfort over the opportunity to love others. If you have any questions, please ask!


  1. This is an EXCELLENT topic. I am one of those ladies who have freaked out over the years about company coming over. Recently, I have realized things do not have to be perfect.....the house, the food, the kids...etc. I still need the Lord to work on me concerning this area in my life though. I do believe He has used you in blogging about this. Thanks sooo much for this post!

  2. Thank you so much for this post. Hospitality is an area of my life where I have MUCH room for growth... your post was an encouragement and challenge to me. It's easy to hide behind my season of life (attaching to our newly adopted son) but I know I could have people over especially since he goes to bed so early. It's a matter of being willing to sacrifice that "free time" at the end of the day when the boys are in bed! Thanks again!

  3. Such an awesome reminder! Thank you! I have been reading your blog for a while and love everything you have to share about life, faith and adoption. We are early in the adoption process and can't wait to welcome our precious child home from Ethiopia.

  4. This is a much needed reminder for me. Thank you for the insight of the different ways to offer hospitality, as well. We all have a style but that's not as important as just doing it.

  5. This is something God has been working on in my life. I love having people over, but since my husband has changed jobs and we have moved, I have stopped for some reason. I recently read in a book that the best way to witness to others is to just naturally let the love of Christ overflow from our lives. I realized that I have let go of most relationships outside of my husband and children. I know ou children are our biggest opportunity to share Christ, but I am pretty sure God doesnt want me to turn into a hermit either. I have to be intentional and go after those frienships. I think I am going to go ask someone over for dinner next week. Thanks forthe inspiration.


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