In our busy culture, we have a tendency to shy away from using our homes
to entertain and for the ministry of hospitality and discipleship. Many people prefer to enjoy coffee at
Starbucks, meet their friends at a restaurant, and hold Bible studies at the
church fellowship hall.
Why then is
it important to have gatherings in our home?
Family is the first institution that God ever created and the home is
very important to Him. I do
realize the word “home” conjures up many different feelings for people. Unfortunately, not everyone has had a
good experience in their home. For
some, pain and abuse have been embodied there. But in the perfect plan of God, before sin entered the
world, homes were supposed to be havens for fellowship with each other and with
The words home, house, and houses are mentioned 2,213 times in the
Bible. That is not counting how
often the word abode is used in
reference to where someone lived.
We should compare that to the 399 references to church(s), synagogue(s),
and temple(s). The difference in
those numbers tells me that our homes must be a place of great importance to
In searching the Scriptures, there are specific things I found that
should exist in our homes: acceptance, comfort, safety to speak openly, sweet
ointments and aromas, nourishing food, sounds of laughter, conversations, praying, and yes, sometimes rebuke and discipline.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible says specifically about our
homes. In the Old Testament, here
is just one example of a home used as a place of refreshment.
“And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh
thyself, and I will give thee a reward.” 1 Kings 13:7
Many times in the life and ministry of Jesus, we see that He took people
into a house to minister to them.
He spoke in the temples and synagogues, yes. And He preached to crowds on the mountains, and by the
sea. Yet, often after speaking to
the masses, He and His disciples would leave and go directly into a home.
“And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered
into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.” Mark 1:29
Often we find Jesus escaping the crowds and entering a house, where He
would nurture, answer questions, teach and share His heart with His closest
followers. He did His intimate
discipleship and training inside of a house, away from the crowds.
“And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples
asked him concerning the parable.” Mark 7:17
“And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him
privately, Why could not we cast him out?” Mark 9:28
Even when correction was needed, He waited until they were alone inside
a home. Publicly He rebuked crowds
but privately He corrected individuals.
“And he came to
Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed
among yourselves by the way?” Mark 9:33
When Jesus wanted to have the Passover meal with His disciples, He chose
a house where the meal would be hosted.
I wonder what it was that appealed to Jesus and why He chose that
“And he said, Go into the city
to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will
keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.” Matthew 26:18
We know that Jesus was often found in the home of Lazarus and his
sisters, Mary and Martha when He needed to be refreshed. He was also in homes when feet washings
occurred and the alabaster box of ointment was broken and spilled on Him. People were prayed for, important
matters discussed, and special moments were shared between the Saviour and
those He loved all in the haven of homes.
“And being in Bethany in
the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an
alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box,
and poured it on his head.” Mark 14:3
Even after Jesus ascended to Heaven, we find in the book of Acts there
was preaching and teaching going on inside the homes. “And daily
in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus
Christ.” Acts 5:42
In other passages in Acts we read accounts of gatherings and discussions
in the homes of Lydia, Cornelius, Mary (mother of John Mark) Justus, and others. Following Christ’s example, the apostle
Paul entertained all who came into the house where he lived. “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received
all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those
things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man
forbidding him. Acts 28:30-31
So, in today’s society, how does one cultivate their home into a place
where Christ would feel welcome and disciples would be nurtured?
It doesn’t take much money, that’s for sure. But it does take time and planning and a willingness to be vulnerable
with other people. If this is new
territory for you, perhaps you can begin by just inviting one or two close
friends for coffee and having a practice run.
To work hospitality into your schedule and budget, here are a few simple
You can begin by making a
list of people to whom you feel God would have you bless with a cup of tea or
dinner or perhaps even a game night.
Then as time on your calendar allows, make your way down that list.
You can browse the clearance aisle at party supply stores for plates,
napkins, silverware, etc. that are inexpensive or out of season. You can pair a patterned plate with
plain napkins, or vice versa.
Also, if you only have a handful of utensils left of a particular color,
save them. Because at the next
gathering, if your plates or napkins have pink and purple for example, you can
use both pink and purple forks. Mixing
and matching is both pretty and keeps expenses down.
You can look for seasonal refrigerated cookie dough that is
marked down simply because of the package. Keep them handy to throw in the oven for those occasions
when there isn’t time to make anything more elaborate.
Candles are always a nice touch for entertaining. Discount stores sell votive cups for
about a dollar each. Even a tea
light can be put in a votive cup and add a quick touch of elegance. Then, you can give them to your guests
as a reminder of your time together.
Music is an instant atmosphere enhancer. Use discretion when choosing the music you play as people
have strong opinions about music.
You can’t really go wrong using classical or instrumental compositions
If all you do is offer coffee, tea, or milk, along with cookies, people
will feel valued and special. Add
in prayer time, book discussion, or some gentle but deep questions. You will witness the Holy Spirit
transform your home into a sacred place where ministering happens. You will be able to watch people
relax and open up in ways that they probably would not do in a fellowship hall
Using your home as a way to make people feel appreciated, loved, valued,
discipled, and nurtured is a wonderful ministry. You will receive far more than you give away. If you study the ministry of Jesus and how
much of it took place in homes, you will see the importance of opening up your
home as extensions of His love and grace.
May God bless and refresh many souls through the gatherings where you
This post is part of our Hospitality series, featured at Mom Heart throughout the month of September. Click on the Hospitality image in the sidebar to see all theposts in this series so far!