As one who often wonders what type of program I need to have a church to invite people to, I need to be reminded about hospitality. It’s not merely having a killer “4th of July Pie Sale.” It’s not merely having a cooler youth group than the church down the street. It’s not having the best block parties.
These can all be helpful, but they are not necessarily “hospitality.”
So what does Ben Sternke say over at V3?
When I say hospitality, please do not hear entertaining. I’m not talking about hosting parties with the best china and hors d’oeuvres, putting on a show to impress people, then collapsing and hibernating for two weeks. That’s exhausting and useless. “Truly I tell you,” I can hear Jesus saying, “they have their reward.”
No, Christian hospitality is something entirely different, and it actually has a long tradition in Christian history. (You can read about it in Christine Pohl’s excellent book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.)
To put it simply, Christian hospitality is making room for others at Jesus’ table. Essentially, you can boil hospitality down to two steps:
Have a life
Invite others into it
We do not invite people into an event. We invite them into a way of life. And, if we are living a life of discipleship, then we have a life we can invite people into.
And, if you happen to have a cool block party on top of that…AWESOME.