Lack of organization is probably the greatest reason most people do not entertain or practice hospitality. Emerson said, “Disorganized people are the most thoughtful people in the world, but usually all they do is think.” Most of the time disorganized people have the best personalities, and they could be the greatest encouragement to the discouraged, but because of their lack of organization, they can’t seem to get things together to practice hospitality.
Many times women feel that they cannot invite people into their homes until every room is spotless. This is a big mistake. If you want to minister to others, you cannot worry about every area of your home being a showplace. There is an old Shaker motto that says, “Kindly welcome.” What a great motto for us to use!
When we were living in Rhode Island, a group of students from the senior class of our Christian school hired a limo for the evening. We all went out to dinner at a nice restaurant. After the meal, the teens had a few hours before they had to go home. Since they wanted to stay together, I invited them to our home. If I had said, “Oh, my house it not clean enough” those teens would have missed out on a great evening together and a great memory.
Suppose a couple is transferred to your area, and they are searching for a new church. They will be searching for a church that is warm and friendly like the church that they just left. They visit on Sunday. The greeter hands them a bulletin, and he welcomes them to church by shaking their hands. No one offers them a dinner invitation or any other personal welcome. What happens? They leave the church and decide, “This is not a warm or friendly church”. You say, “Well, it’s their own fault. If they had been more friendly with everyone, the people would have been more friendly to them”. Think about it! These people had lived all of their lives in a certain city. Their company moved them to a new location. Here they are in a new church and new surroundings. They just left a church where they felt very comfortable and loved. This couple is coming into your church looking for love and acceptance. Not only does this couple need to find friendlinss at church, but they need to find friendship outside the services of the church.
One thing that I appreciated about the churches in Great Britain was the tea time. I didn’t understand it a first, but after every service, the church would have tea time with coffee, tea, and cookies. It was a time of fellowship to get to know the visitors. I asked one missionary why do you do this? He then explained to me that most of our visitors have no idea about the invitation time. The missionary continues to give invitations and tries to explain its purpose, but he told me that the members have been able to lead many people to the Lord during this time of fellowship.
Remember the ministry of hospitality meets the needs of the visitor. Hospitality means loving strangers.