By Joel Brooks
Throughout Scripture, we never see Jesus inviting people to come with him to synagogue, yet we do see him constantly inviting himself to people’s homes. We don’t read, “Zaccheus, you come down, for you are coming to church with me today!” Instead, over and over again we see Jesus sitting down at the table with people. Many of the deepest, most life-penetrating transforming truths that Jesus taught about himself were often discussed over a simple meal at someone’s home.
Hospitality has always been at the heart of Christianity and is a practice that the church needs to reclaim. It is the key to evangelism in the 21st century. How else are we going to reach the lost for Christ? Are we going to set up large revival tents and try and bring in the masses? Hand out tracts at the mall? Rent a stadium for our next evangelistic events Perhaps these things worked in the past, but they would likely have little effectiveness today.
However, the one strategy the church has always had that is still effective today — perhaps even more so than it was 2000 years ago — is hospitality. If you read through your Bible and look for it, it might surprise you just how many times hospitality is mentioned. It’s a qualification for becoming an elder. It’s a requirement for widows seeking financial aid. It is certainly not a minor theme of the Bible, and it should not be a minor theme in our lives either! And I would argue that the need for hospitality is especially important for pastors and church planters to both implement and model.
My wife and I have planted both a college ministry and a church and have seen the tremendous impact of having people in our home. More than financial backing, more than a great meeting space, more than solid preaching, what has helped us reach people and establish a healthy church has been the simple acts of welcoming strangers into our living space.
I’m looking forward to discussing how we can cultivate an atmosphere conducive to hospitality in both us and in our elders during our time together at The Soul of Eldership.
I often tell our members that the greatest physical assets our church has is their homes. Let’s start using them!