What Is Hospitality?
Hospitality is the act of making space for guests, visitors, or strangers, and extending to them the privileges of family. In these resources, we’ll explore biblical hospitality and focus on how we can share food, shelter, and protection.
by Chris Schoon
When I was serving as outreach minister at Plymouth Heights CRC (Grand Rapids, Mich.), our ministry staff spent a day with the staff from Harderwyk Ministries (Holland, Mich.) to learn from their experiences around worship, discipleship, congregational care, church leadership, and outreach. One of the first questions Wayne Brouwer, then the lead pastor at Harderwyk, asked us was this: “How does a first-grader in your Kids Hope USA program [a mentoring program we coordinated with our local public school] become an elder in your church?”
The precision of that question cut through all the technical “how to’s” and moved us to the heart of the matter. Could we imagine being a church in which the people we engaged with in our neighborhood could become our church’s spiritual leaders? And, practically, what in our culture and structures would help or hinder that type of formation?
Brouwer’s question is also at the heart of hospitality. Will we live in such a way that people who are strangers to us and to the gospel of Jesus Christ can become leaders in our churches, Christian communities, and the body of Christ more broadly?
Helpful Resources on Hospitality
How Can I Practice Hospitality?
Points to Ponder
Explore these questions in personal reflection, at home, or in small groups:
- How might I provide food, shelter, and protection to family, friends, and strangers?
- How was hospitality modeled (or not modeled) in my family of origin?
- What aspects of hospitality come easily to me? Which are more difficult?
- How might I help to create an atmosphere of hospitality in my church, my neighborhood, and other communities of which I’m a part?
“True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”
—Kathleen Norris Tweet this quote
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Share hospitality practices that you find helpful, or original art or photos illustrating what hospitality looks like to you, at #CRCFaithPractices.
Explore Other Faith Practices
Faith Formation Ministries’ Faith Practices Project explores twelve Christian practices or spiritual disciplines: sabbath, gratitude, generosity, hospitality, engaging Scripture, justice and mercy, listening, celebration, prayer, wonder, remembering, and service.