Next up in our Journey series we are considering hospitality --- inviting others into our journey and what that can look like.
A large looming question many ministry women have is “Should a Pastor invite parishioners over to their home?”
I was asked that question while on a women’s ministry panel.
My 30 second response time brought out the quick answer of “Absolutely!”
Which in hindsight was possibly very discouraging to the one who asked the question.
My quick answer possibly annihilated and set her precious heart even more on edge with a sense of obligation and dread in having to open her home. And in that way, my heart hurts for her.
If I could roll back the clock and answer that question again my answer would be softer, kinder and more grace filled.
If I could sit down with that sweet friend over a cup of coffee I would listen better and hear her story.
I understand not everyone is ready to open up their home and let others in. I get that.
Our homes are a vulnerable part of us. It’s where we’re real. It’s where we throw our socks down and pile dirty dishes in the sink. This is where others see the me, we and us of our family. It can be scary and intimidating to open up our homes and invite others in.
My hubby and I have lived with our home doors pretty open. This hasn’t come without judgement, criticism and even sometimes unkind words thrown in our direction. So, I understand where fear of opening up can be scary. On the flip side, we have many wonderful experiences of friendship, laughter and deep relationship building because we opened our doors to others.
Here’s what I’ve learned from practicing hospitality.
1. No need for perfection– Two things happen when we strive for this standard.
2. Serve a family favorite meal. – This I have learned the hard way. I’ve tried new recipes out on guests, and they’ve flopped. I’ve tried to impress, and it doesn’t bode well for me. So instead, I stick with the tried and true. I prepare food my family loves and have prepared often. I’m comfortable in making it and I know my family will eat it!
3. Opening our home opens a door of conversation – Our homes invite others to see what’s important to us.
If the only time people in our congregations see us is on Sunday mornings, they get a false impression of how we live. They see us only in our dressed-up Sunday smiles with our handshake/hug greetings. Opening our home invites others to see us in our living space, they see a bit of our real life and how we live.
In ministry, we are called to journey with others through life. We live through job losses and transitions, weddings and divorce, baby beginnings and saying good-bye to loved ones. It’s a journey of life together.
Yet it’s hard to journey with others if we only travel together on Sunday mornings.
We can preach how to live on Sunday mornings but when we invite them into our homes, we’re showing how to live Jesus in our everyday lives.
My home is where I live real with my kids… live real with my spouse and live real with socks on the floor and food on the table.
This is how our lives show Jesus in our everyday world.
Opening our homes to others is about sharing time with them in the living room of our lives. Our feet rest casually on the coffee table, and we share stories and thoughts without interruption from a waitress or the noise of the restaurant. We simply enjoy the company of others and share our lives together.
As Pastors are we required to have parishioners in our home? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Do I think it’s a great way of inviting others in and living real with those we journey alongside? ABSOLUTELY!
We’re not called to live in a perfect house or be a perfect hostess. Instead, we invite others to live real with us as we journey life together.
Questions to consider: