I come from a family that prioritized hospitality. My Grandmas, my aunts, my mom – they invited people into their immaculately clean homes every Sunday afternoon to share a pot roast dinner and homemade pie for dessert.
Talk about a lot of pressure to live up to.
Looking at my mom’s hospitality, I can easily see that I don’t measure up. But, does that mean that I am failing in hospitality?
Nope! Because there are some secrets to hospitality that my momma didn’t tell me.
Secret #1: Everyone has the gift of hospitality.
Everyone has the gift of hospitality.
But not everyone’s hospitality gift looks the same.
I keep a fairly clean house and am a good cook. I enjoy having people into my home. I have a good friend who gets stressed out every time she has people into her home.
This same friend has an easy laughter that immediately puts church visitors at ease. When I greet strangers at church, I get tongue-tied and forget my children’s names. I have a hard time keeping conversation flowing over a meal. She is able to draw people out and get them talking.
We both have the gift of hospitality. Our gifts just don’t look the same.
Even if having people into your home is not something that you enjoy or if you are at a season in your life where having people over doesn’t work, you can still be hospitable.
Focus on the gift of hospitality that God has given to you and use it to its fullest.
- Consider asking another mom to come to the park for a picnic and play date. There are many lonely moms who are waiting for someone like you to call them.
- Volunteer to bake cookies for a Senior Adults’ Sunday School class or retirement home. Bless these people with your amazing cookies and the gift of your hospitality.
- Write a note of encouragement. Many people are going through difficult times and would love to receive a hand written note.
- Consider teaming up with a friend whose hospitality gifts complete your own. (If you are a good cook but shy, team up and extend hospitality with a friend who is outgoing and friendly – you host, she keeps the conversation flowing. You get the idea!)
Don’t limit “hospitality” to a Sunday afternoon roast dinner. Find your own gift of hospitality and use it to its fullest.
Secret #2: Clearly Defined Goals Takes the Stress Out of Hospitality
What are you trying to accomplish through hospitality? Are you seeking to build relationships with people you don’t know very well? Are you trying to bless someone who is going through a difficult time?
Take time to define your goals, because having clearly defined goals will take the stress out of hospitality.
Allow me to explain:
If you are trying to sell your house, then your master bathroom shower should be really, really clean. If you are having another family over for a barbecue with the hopes of growing friendships, just pull the shower curtain closed. Seriously. They probably won’t even look.
Knowing your goals can help you extend hospitality without stressing about things that really aren’t that important (like that messy shower…).
Secret #3: Hospitality Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Hospitality doesn’t have to be hard. It really, really doesn’t. Here are some thoughts on how to simplify hospitality.
Whip Your House Into Order:
- Declutter the main living areas in your home. Even a little bit of decluttering will make it easier to tidy up when guests are coming.
- Have a “super pickup” before guests come over. Turn on some fun music and see how quickly you and your kids can make each room of your house look presentable. Make it a game.
- “Sweep” through the house with a broom and lysol wipes before guests come, but do not focus on deep cleaning. Your floors will be messy by the time your guests leave anyway, so save the deep cleaning for after they are gone.
- Light a scented candle. A beautiful smell will make your house seem clean even if it is not.
Don’t Stress Over the Food:
- Focus on mastering one “guest” meal. Do you make an amazing lasagna? Serve lasagna every time you have guests over. Purchase a loaf of french bread, toss a salad bag into a bowl and serve a carton of ice cream for dessert. Are your culinary efforts limited to grilled hot dogs? Find a great deli potato salad to go with your hot dogs, and serve ice cream Snickers bars for dessert. Make it your go-to company meal.
- If your guests include children, consider popping some frozen chicken nuggets in the oven and offering Jello-jigglers with your meal. The youngsters (and their mom) will appreciate child-friendly options.
- When people volunteer to bring over a part of the meal, accept their offer!
Easy Hospitality Ideas:
- Invite several families over for a “pot luck” and allow everyone to share in the food preparation.
- Host a “sandwich” party – provide bread, meat, cheese, condiments, and chips and let everyone make their own sandwiches. Ask people to bring salads or soups and desserts.
- Host an after-church cookie get-together.
- Order some pizza and host a game night.
- Invite a couple of families to a picnic dinner at a park. Bring outdoor lawn games for the adults and bubbles to blow for the kids.
- Invite people over after dinner for a bonfire and s’mores.
Here’s the secret: You can be hospitable – even without a pot roast.
You can reach out and bless others, if you use your own unique gifts, define your goals, and make it easy.
How will you get started today? I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and goals. Please scroll down to comment.
Thank you Anna. I will remeber this.
Love this, Anna Joy. So much freedom in realizing that hospitality has so many options.
When I was a single Mum with 2 children…. I often invited people home after church…. It was a tin of soup with grilled cheese on toast…. nothing fancy…… BUT was was important was the time we all shared together…. I learnt when I was a new Mum and went to Nursing Mother’s meetings that what your house looked like wasn’t important —- people came to see me NOT my house 🙂
I am now 62, a missionary and I still work by the same principle…… easy food OR prepared the day before…. and the house reasonably tidy and sometimes I haven’t cleaned the toilet – if it looks ok why do it??? ha ha ha ….
I love that Gail! Thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement in this.