Welcome back for our chapter 4 discussion on Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock. This is part 4 of an eight week discussion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not participating in the study, I encourage you to keep reading. Chapter 4 focused on Hospitality & Management. I was not able to summarize the entire chapter, due to it’s length, but here are some highlights.
This chapter begins by emphasizing the importance of management to the successful extension of hospitality in practice. “Management skills are important for Christian women primarily because such skills are the key to extending hospitality with ease, enjoyment, and resourcefulness.” The authors continue: “Management involves organizing and planning all the details for each hospitality event. Organizing is the ability to arrange the various parts of your event; it implies that you are able to make decisions and accomplish tasks….Planning is the process of deciding in advance how to accomplish your tasks or goals.”
The end goal is to become “planners of generosity” with the help of three strategies:
- Refuse Idleness – the opposite of idleness is diligence. The hospitable woman is willing to work hard as it takes consistent effort to maintain an orderly and prepared home. She is willing to pursue mentoring relationships with an older women if necessary to develop these skills. Above all, she is seeking to be faithful. She does not get consumed with undone tasks and give up, but rather makes a consistent effort every day to do her best for the glory of God.
- Manage your home – Why is a managed home important? “Because a well-managed home views hospitality as a life-style – not just an event. You are living in anticipation that you will have guests in your home.” How can this be accomplished?
- Get organized – Take small steps. One room at a time. Create storage spaces. File, throw or give away items as needed.
- Establish a weekly cleaning schedule – For me this is Wednesday mornings. One week I do a basic cleaning of the downstairs as I see necessary, and on the opposite week I do a basic cleaning of the upstairs. This keeps it very management in this season of my life. Mondays is laundry day. Find a routine that works well for your family and stick to it!
- Identify daily cleaning chores
- Problem solve for your organization challenges – what areas do you struggle with and how can you solve these problems?
- Keep the pantry stocked – keep a quick meal ingredients on hand, including beverages and dessert.
- Prepare in advance for guests – What items might you need on hand for overnight guests?
- Straighten up before going to bed – take 5 minutes to walk around the house and make it generally picked up. This has helped me significantly! Involve your kids in the process before bed, if possible.
- Understand that orderliness, not perfection, is your goal.
- Have a proper perspective on possessions. “The purpose of organization is to prepare your home and possessions to be used and enjoyed by your guests – not to preserve them.”
3. Prepare for graciousness – Management is a tool to help facilitate a gracious environment for your guests.
The authors go on to share many further ideas about being prepared for hospitality which would make this post extremely lengthy to share. If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to pick up a copy! I will continue by highlighting what stood out to me from this chapter.
This quote stood out to me most significantly: “Planning suggests you are anticipating opportunities to prepare a meal, invite a guest to stay the night, or open your home to others in some way.” I love the challenge to be planners of generosity. How can I be prepared to be hospitable? I am also going to implement the idea of having supplies on hand for impromptu guests by doubling a family meal to have in the freezer, and keeping cookie ingredients in the cupboard. This gives household management and organization an eternal purpose! Maintaining our homes is not just for the benefit of our family, but even more so for the furtherance of the kingdom, so we can welcome those who God might send our way without embarrassment. I was challenged to consider that the condition of my home can be a hindrance to the gospel.
I want to be more intentional with hospitality by establishing a hospitality schedule. Since the beginning of the year, we have planned to host two hospitality events each month. One through which we will seek to reach out to neighbors, international students or unsaved friends. The second occasion will be to continue to build relationships with people in the body. We like to host these occasions on Sunday evenings over waffles or another simple dinner (homemade pizza is another easy favorite!). Making a purposeful plan for me is essential for practicing hospitality otherwise it will not happen. Every family will be different but we can each encourage one another to take the first steps towards planning to incorporate hospitality into our schedules.
I am also challenged to season all my planning with prayer, involving my husband in the process. I want his oversight and leadership to direct our conversation with our guests in order that it might be most honoring to the Lord and edifying for our company. We will begin to use more thought provoking directed questions to lead in this conversation. The authors provided an excellent list for conversation starters, but we have also found this list to be helpful no matter what time of the year. As described above, I have also written a basic household cleaning schedule to keep organized in this season of my life (two little ones soon!). I am not concerned with in-depth, extensive cleaning, but rather basic maintenance. These are just some basic steps I will be taking as a result of this chapter. What about you?
May I end with this final reminder and challenge: “Remember the purpose of hospitality is to model God’s love to people. Believers are motivated to love others because God first loved them (1 John 4:19). Management is merely a tool in the process of practicing hospitality.”
We will continue this book next time, Monday, March 8, with chapter 5: Hospitality and Your Home.
I am interested in hearing what you took away from this chapter. Feel free to post comments below or write your thoughts on your blog (and come back and post the link in the comments). No need to share anything profound, just whatever stood out to you. Here are a few questions to get you started:
1. How can you become a planner of generosity?
2. How can you begin to change your perspective to view household management with an eternal purpose?
3. What tips might you have to help maintain a more orderly and prepared home?
Stay tuned for an upcoming Titus 2 Talk panel discussion expanding further on the topic of hospitality with some lovely godly women. My sister has also written an excellent post on practicing hospitality as a single woman. Coming later this week!