Hospitality is key to Christian living

  • Follow Your Faith

Is showing hospitality -- love of strangers -- a part of our role in ministry? The Bible shouts loud and clear: ''By all means!"

You'll find it first in the oft-misunderstood story in Genesis 19 of Lot, who was willing to lay down his life in order to protect the strangers in his house.

In 2 Kings 4, a Shunammite woman persuaded her husband to build a guest room for the prophet Elisha as part of their own home.

And in Hebrews 13:2, there's this admonition:

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Of course, the key verse on hospitality comes from the mouth of Jesus himself, in Matthew 25:40: "... as you have done it unto the least of these who are members of my family, you have done it unto me."

With so many references to hospitality in the Bible, we can affirm that it is one of the important ways we can do ministry. The question then becomes:

How can we practice hospitality?

We can provide a nursery at our church as a way of saying to families with small children: "We are glad you are here. We welcome you to our church family."

We provide special parking places for visitors for the same reasons and have special greeters as people gather for Sunday school, worship services and fellowship suppers.

Showing hospitality is not just the responsibility of a church committee, nor is it primarily a program of the church. Hospitality to strangers is the mission of every member of the congregation, of all who call Jesus Christ their Lord.


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DonH 02/07/09 - 09:10 am
We are also encouraged in the

We are also encouraged in the Bible to obey the laws of the land in which we live. For example, yes, we should help somone who is injured or is destitute, but, if we find out that this person has broken the law or is wanted by enforcement authorities, we are also bound to turn them over to those enforcement authorities after we have rendered aid (hospitality). I like to use the example of illegal aliens in this country. We should treat them humanely AND we should help them to get back to their homeland by turning them in to enforcement. Our Bible instructs us to behave in this manner.

Evangelismcoach 02/14/09 - 10:14 am
Barna reports that

Barna reports that friendliness is what 9 out of 10 people are looking for when visiting a church for the first time. Hospitality is important to welcoming visitors who come to your church. How then can churches improve their first impressions? Small things and big things. Small things like a warm hand shake. Big things like a clean building.

Chris Walker

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