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Life is not meant to be lived alone. Community is vital to Christian life. Hospitality is the foundation. Here are 5 simple steps to a life of hospitality!

person carrying cookies with text overlay I want to be hospitable, where do I start?

How to Build Your Hospitality Muscles

In large part, my entire adult life has been spent building a hospitality muscle. I dreamed of a home filled with people and memories, deep conversation and silly, laughable moments. I heard stories about people doing big things for God and I ached that I could be used the same way. And yet, the thought of an open-door policy seemed daunting. How can I swing wide the door of my life when it is so messy and uncontrolled? Who would I even invite in if I could?

I love the encouragement to open wide the doors of our hearts and our homes! But I also know that it can feel very overwhelming and unachievable in practice. As I have examined my years of growing in hospitality, I’ve come to understand that, as people made in the image of God, we all long for real, intimate community. As Christians, we also all have a hospitality muscle. For some of us, that haven’t exercised that muscle much, it may appear small or non-existent but it is there and God can use it as we faithfully work to build it.

But how? How do I find people who would be interested in my hospitality? What do I do with those people when they come? Let me explain.

For most of us, I really believe that building this hospitality muscle takes 5 steps (although 4 and 5 happen simultaneously).

I believe the easiest way to get started with a hospitable life is to take baby steps. Here are the 5 steps I think you need to go through to truly live your life in community.

infographic with details about 5 steps to life of hospitality

1. See the need

Hospitality is not about impressing people, hospitality is about connecting with people. It seeks the heart of the guests rather than the praise of the guests. It is how God interacts with His people and it is how He commands us to interact with others (Romans 15:7, 1 Peter 4:9).

Hospitality is how we reach out to a hurting world. When God wanted to turn the world upside down with His message of redemption, He did it by recruiting a few men, living life with them, and then sending them out to live life with others.

Hospitality is how we reach out to a hurting world. When God wanted to turn the world upside down with His message of redemption, He did it by recruiting a few men, living life with them, and then sending them out to live life with others.

I love this quote from The Simplest Way to Change the World “We must remember that the church has progressed for two millennia on God’s power at work around ordinary kitchen tables and living rooms.”

Related: The Importance of Hospitality

2. Start close

A local church, your neighborhood, or your workplace can all be great places to begin your search for people you can build community with. The hope is that eventually you will get more comfortable inviting strangers into your life but a journey to hospitality often starts with a baby step toward those who are already within reach.

God has sovereignly placed you with those people for this time. He has orchestrated your lives so that they intersect for this moment. See that as a beautiful opportunity and build on the community foundation God is already laying for you (check out more about that here)

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Neighborhood Hospitality

3. Welcome

After you have found a group to start reaching out to, it can be intimidating. The three biggest reasons I hear from readers as to why they struggle with welcoming are:
a. Time
b. Finances
c. No idea what to do with guests

Those are all valid things to struggle with. If you do not feel particularly gifted as a host, you will probably feel self-conscience and wonder what you would spend the time together doing. If you are very busy you will probably wonder, how on earth am I supposed to make time for this? If you are scraping by financially you will wonder how you can make space in your budget for something like hospitality

Here are two articles that may be of help to you:
When Finances Make Hospitality Hard
4 Ways to Make Time for Hospitality

It was with this step in mind that I created the guide 15 Gatherings You Can Plan in 15 Minutes! This simple, easy to use, guide is meant to take a lot of the stress, time, and overall workload out of planning gatherings when you are in this stage of growth! Click here to get the guide!

4. Less formal/ planned/ stressful

Very planned events can sometimes be stressful. However, the more you do it, the more your hospitality muscle strengthens! You learn to value the time you have with others and the community you are building enough to take the time and effort it needs. As you do this, you naturally get better at it. You learn which meals are crowd-pleasing and easy to put together. You learn which foods to stock in your pantry. You learn how to maintain a cleaning schedule to make spur of the moment hospitality less intimidating. The more you host, the easier it becomes! And the easier it becomes, the more you will seek opportunities to do it.

Related: The Embarrassing Story that Taught Me 4 Valuable Lessons on Hospitality

5. Building Community

When you start to see hospitality as something that doesn’t need to be planned or formal, you can also see where it begins to build community. It is much easier to open the door to a struggling neighbor or a lonely church member when you are consistently maintaining a life of welcome. It frees you up to welcome when you know your small offering has been used of God in the past and you trust Him to use it again and again.

As you strengthen this hospitality muscle your community begins to grow. And, as is often the case, those who have experienced your growth in hospitality may soon “catch the bug” and start slowly exercising their hospitality muscles. It is through this ordinary, simple grace that God works in whole churches and neighborhoods.

Related: Book Review “The Simplest Way to Change the World”

coffee mugs and pot with text overlay 5 simple steps to a life of hospitality

[clickToTweet tweet=”Christian, you were never meant to live this life alone. You were always supposed to be in community. Loneliness is not your story. Superficial relationships do not hold the mark of the gospel on them. Community takes hard work, but it is beautiful!” quote=”Christian, you were never meant to live this life alone. You were always supposed to be in community. Loneliness is not your story. Superficial relationships do not hold the mark of the gospel on them. True community must be worked for and maintained but it is beautiful!”]

Christian, you were never meant to live this life alone. You were always supposed to be in community. Loneliness is not your story. Superficial relationships do not hold the mark of the gospel on them. True community must be worked for and maintained but it is beautiful!

Are you on your own journey to hospitality? Do you think these steps have outlined some of your own path? What other things have you encountered along the way? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to grab out FREE guide – 15 Gatherings You Can Plan in 15 Minutes!