About eight years ago I had left the church that I grew up in and ventured into a new church. Our church offered small groups, which was something new to me. My roommate and I were both looking for people that were like-minded, same age, and could build potential new friendships. So on a Tuesday night at 6:30pm we walked into a random girl’s apartment and sat in her living room. Over the course of the evening, it was great to connect with others. It was coming to the end of the evening and the leader announced that there was only one more thing to talk about: we needed a new place to meet. Immediately I looked at my roommate. She shook her head “no”. And immediately it just came over me and I blurted out, “We can meet at our house!”
The next year was spent opening our home on Tuesday nights to host a group of 20-year-old women into our living room to talk about life, what we believed, and how that applied to our daily walks. We walked with each other through heartaches, losses, upcoming marriages, new boyfriends, new jobs, and new seasons. I loved hosting them…for a season. While it didn’t last forever, it taught me what I know life to be now: community. Because of those Tuesday nights, I learned how to open my home weekly for college students, volunteer leaders, and friends. I had learned to tap into my gift of hospitality. That might sound old school but I learned that hospitality is the heart that I have to help create a culture of community.
Let me also add that this might not be for everyone, but I do think that if you want to create a culture of community, inviting people into your home is inviting people into your heart. Here are some ways that you can help create that culture:
- Invite people into your home for a meal or a cup of coffee.
- Welcome the “new guy” at your work, church, or even grocery store clerk.
- Listen while people speak and ask open-ended questions when they are in your company.
- Open your home even for others to host something like a small group, a volunteer meeting, or a college group.
Hospitality isn’t just about a home. It’s about your heart. Hospitality isn’t just a thing that people do because they feel obligated — it’s an action that you intentionally take on. So here’s my encouragement:
- How can you be more hospitable to others in your daily life?
- Who is someone that might need an extra smile, welcome, or good to see you?
- What’s one way that you can open your heart and/or your home to those around you?