1. Introduce yourself to people at church that you don’t already know.
Find someone that you don’t know and introduce yourself to them. It might seem awkward at first and you might be looking for the “right” thing to say, but often, “Hi, I’m _____, what’s your name?” Is an easy start!
2. Make a practice of learning at least one or two facts about someone.
Do this as a family and make it the topic of your conversation over dinner or on the way home. What did you learn about ______ today? Learn to ask questions and to take a genuine interest in the lives of others. Questions like: “How did you meet the Lord?” “When were your married? etc.
3. Begin discpling a younger person/couple.
Find someone younger than you and ask them to begin a discipleship relationship. Ladies can use this time to teach younger ladies to cook, men can offer help on around-the-house projects, teach someone to pray.
4. Invite people into your home who’ve never invited you.
5. Provide lodging for traveling preachers/missionaries, etc.
Tell the Missions Team that you would like to house a missionary when they come to town.
6. Start a neighborhood Bible study, organize a neighborhood picnic, invite neighbors to meet church friends.
7. Spend time with those who are lonely. Visit widows, widowers, shut-ins. Invite them out to eat or to a family outing.
8. Look out for the consistently neglected.
Have you noticed someone who is always alone? Someone who never seems to talk to anyone?
9. Spend time with new Christians.
10. Look for first time guests at church.
Someone who is new will often visit the church. Be on the lookout. Ask them if this is their first time. Ask them if they know their way around the building? Familiarize yourself with the location of Sunday School/Body Builder Classes, Jr. Church, nursery, etc. If someone comes in late DO NOT just look at them! If they are looking for a seat, MOVE IN and invite them to take your seat. Unless you paid for your seat it is NOT yours! Invite guests to a meal in your home after church
11.Make the most of Sunday afternoons.
Twenty years ago it was commonplace to visit people on Sunday afternoons. Invite folks to your for a meal after church. Be specific because you may intend them to come for the meal only when they plan to stay all day, or tell them that you want them to come and spend the day with you. Go for a walk, invite them to visit your recliner for a nap!
12.Give to the Good Samaritan Benevolence Fund.
13.When you go to a home be very considerate and when you invite people into your home be very accommodating.
See the F.A.Q. section.
14. Practice getting to public gatherings early. Stay for at least 30 minutes afterward to chat.
15. Plan, strategize, and make a list!
Plan your work then work your plan. Many people will never open up their homes and hearts unless they plan to do so. Intentionally set aside one day a month to invite people into your home. Think in terms of maximizing the time. What families would benefit from meeting/getting to know each other?
16. Don’t avoid last minute opportunities.
Sometimes last minute opportunities are best.
17. Invite first time guests to sit with you.
18. Sit in a different place each week.
19. Attend church dinners/activities.
We often host dinners, Family NITES, Sweet Fellowship Singles Ministry, God’s Chosen Jewels Sr. Ministry, etc. Don’t neglect being involved in the appropriate activities.
20.. Volunteer to host a Ladies Bible Study.
21. Get involved in church family activities and gatherings.
22.. Host a kids sleepover.
23.. Host the Youth Group in your home.
24. Join a growth group.
Growth Groups are excellent opportunities to practice and receive hospitality, not to mention a great way to begin and maintain relationships within the church.
25. Organize and host a “tell your testimony” night.
26. Make a meal for someone in need.
27. Volunteer for the “Hospitality Team”.
28. Call, visit, write when you miss seeing someone.
“Hey, where’s so and so been? I haven’t seen them in a while.” Call them yourself. Even if you know why they might be absent from a service, just contact them and let them know that you missed them.
29. Write cards of encouragement to people on the church’s prayer list.
The church prayer list can be a useful tool to pursue strangers. These are people that often are only known by a few in the church but your card, letter, call, or visit just to say “hi” and to let someone know that we’re praying for them can go a long way!
30. Receive hospitality well.
Don’t be a “fuddy-duddy”! Too often we are too cold when in comes to accepting the hospitality of others. Don’t just receive it; enjoy it! Happily engage in conversation, joyfully accept invitations, willingly participate!
A few Frequently Asked Questions include:
What if I work on Sunday’s?
Some people feel that they can’t really be involved in the life of the church let alone be hospitable because they work on Sunday’s. If it is required of you to work and you absolutely must, then be sure to take specific time for rest on another day and use that time to practice hospitality.
What about by unbelieving or unsociable spouse?
It is often the case that an unbelieving or unsociable spouse wants nothing to do with the church family. Make this work for the glory of God. Open your home in a spirit of kindness, mercy, and Christ-like welcome to whomever your spouse will welcome. Don’t participate in God-dishonoring activities but be a gracious host. If your spouse is simply unsociable, discuss ways that you can be hospitable in ways that, while stretching them, will allow them to enjoy the time.
What if I introduce myself to someone “new to the church” who has been a member of the church for 20 years?
Have you ever done this? It happens often. You welcome someone to the church who has been a member longer than you! Well, that’s just something that’s going to happen. Remember, they might not be “new” but they are new to you!
What is someone doesn’t want to talk?
If you find someone who simply won’t respond, don’t let that change your approach. We are pursuing hospitality as a church and not everyone wants that. They need to realize that they will either participate or move on.
What about their kids?
Hospitality is often an issue when it comes to kids. Quite frankly we need to learn to be more considerate and accommodating on this issue. If you have kids, especially young kids, be sure to take a paddle with you and USE IT! Young children have been known to terrorize a house. Be sure to train your children that this is not acceptable. Teach them to be kind, considerate, happy, and helpful. That often demands a spanking, even while you’re visiting your host. Learn the “house rules” of you host and clearly communicate them to your child. On the other hand, as a host be accommodating to families with young children. This means offering genuine hospitality. Don’t pretend to enjoy the visit only to speak nastily of them after they leave! Check your heart and prepare your home. Clearly communicate any “house rules” to parents and children.
The Hospitality Commands: Building Loving Christian Community, Building Bridges to Friends and Neighbors, by Alexander Strauch.