When was the last time you hosted a gathering in your home?
I know. The kids have a trail of creative debris strewn throughout the house and you’re never sure when something may go wrong. Opening up your home feels daunting. And sure, the church and community buildings have plenty of meeting space. Restaurants are easier than cleaning your dining room or kitchen table to make space for others to sit.
But when we value convenience too highly we sacrifice warmth, welcome, and a comfort level that can’t be experienced in public spaces. So the next time your people are getting together, consider inviting friends into your home instead.
Here are three easy ways to pull it off:
1. Invite friends for a potluck. Each family bringing a dish–or even a bag of chips–is a good option that makes feeding a group doable for everyone. You won’t have the stress of a restaurant.
And remember everyone will enjoy being in a home, especially when it is not perfect! You can ease your friend’s guilt by not making your house Pinterest worthy! Relax! A less than perfect home is a gift.
2. Host a small group. Our friends Rob and Teresa, bought a new-to-them house about two years ago. One of their highest priorities when they shopped for a home was a place that encouraged gathering. They wanted to purchase a home with a large, open living room and a smart flat screen TV for streaming video studies, photos, and YouTube.
They found an adorable one-story house tucked literally into a hillside in the back of a neighborhood. Their biggest love is premarital mentoring with newly-engaged couples. Instead of meeting at a restaurant or coffee shop, each week their mentoring begins with a home-cooked meal in their cozy kitchen. The young couples find enrichment from the study but also from seeing Rob and Teresa model transparency in their home. Another idea is to can invite friends over to talk through our Summer Blog Club one night a week after the kids are in bed.
3. Include your children’s friends. Whether you have toddlers, preschoolers, or teenagers, you can regularly make space to include your children’s friends. If you’re in the young mom season, say yes as often as you can to watching other little ones. Have an open space for an extra child or two when your mom friends have an appointment, might be working late, and more.
If you have teenagers, make your house the hang out space. Keep snacks on hand. Have your couch ready for a regular game night. Take the prom group pictures on your stairs.
See? You can do this! Be intentional with the home God has given you.
Consider other ways you might open the doors for influence with these questions:
- Do you feel compassion for international students at your local university who are lost in our American culture?
- Do you care about the marriages in your neighborhood, church, or work place?
Might God want to use you to befriend these people and make them feel the love of God in His embassy, your home?
Why don’t you try it? Next time you’re planning a gathering, birthday party, or family event, take the initiative to open your home.
It doesn’t mean you have to do all the work; you can still ask others to bring a dish or help clean up. It simply means you’re willing to initiate authentic relationships with those on the guest list.
Remember your home is an embassy of the King. There are countless ways to love those around you in the setting of your home. There’s not a perfect formula, but you do have a perfect God who will guide you and show you who to invite in.
Even small steps are important because they demonstrate your faith. May you experience the thrill of seeing God use you and your family as His ambassadors. There is nothing quite like it!