“Every Christian, regardless of gift or training, is called upon to encourage his brothers and sisters. Whatever the direction in which our particular congregation is moving, church life will include spending time in the presence of other Christians. And when we meet together as God’s people, we are to encourage one another, to say and do things that stimulate others to a deeper appreciation of Christ and to stronger commitment to our relationship with Him and with each other.”~Lawrence J. Crabb
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” -1 Peter 4:9
1. Set a budget for hospitality
It is so much easier to serve a nice meal to guests when you have it budgeted in, instead of skimping it in with your food budget. I found that I could be more generous and serve my best when I set a monthly amount set aside for hospitality. Now I include in hospitality: bringing a meal to someone in need and church shared meals, due to the fact that I am making over and above the amount that would just feed my family.
2. Have one meal items on hand for last minute guests
This tip I gleaned from Rachael Crabb’s book, The Personal Touch. (This book appears to be out of print, but is available used) She recommends having a simple meal always on hand for those last minute or impromptu occasions. I usually stash a pack of chocolate chips in the cupboard so I could quickly make a batch of homemade cookies. I also like to keep pizza toppings on hand.
I make a batch of four pizza crusts at a time and freeze them in addition to a big batch of spaghetti sauce that I freeze in small zip block bags. I can easily pull one or two out as needed. You could also use store bought crusts and have a can of spaghetti sauce on hand and be creative with the toppings. Aaron loves pizza, so his favorite toppings include cheese, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, olives, etc. I will post my recipe in an upcoming post. You could also just have a frozen meal stashed away in the freezer.
3. Pray before they come!
Relax yourself by asking the Lord to bless your fellowship, that your guests might be refreshed and encouraged and that everything would flow smoothly.
4. Prepare good questions
I always love to hear how a couple met and especially how they came to know the Lord (if they are believers).
Other good questions could include:
- Where is the Lord leading your family?
- What is your favorite book of the Bible?
-What has the Lord been teaching you over this past year?
For unbelievers, ice-breaker questions work well:
-Tell us about your family, where you grew up, etc.
-What brought you to live in this area?
-What has been the most important experience in your life?
-Who has been the most important person in your life and why?
5. Pray for your guests before they depart
Aaron and I have tried to start the habit of blessing our guests by praying for them before they leave our home. We ask them of any prayer needs they may have or just pray a blessing over their family. We have found this to be a sweet way to wrap up our time together.
6. Have a back up plan
“Another way to keep from worrying is to imagine the worst thing that could happen and decide in advance how you will deal with it. For example: If the dessert does not turn out, I will serve ice cream. If the roast is not done when I cut it, I’ll cook it in the microwave for a few extra minutes. If no one shows up, we will enjoy a nice family dinner.” ~Rachael Crabb
Picture by Norman Rockwell