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Flowing from a Biblical overview of the hospitable nature of our God, Dustin and Brandon share with us the heart behind hospitality. This book is both deeply theological and very readable.

How to Change the World: What this Book has to Say

Today I get to share with you a fantastic resource! The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements is an excellent hospitality resource for the church!

Flowing from a Biblical overview of the hospitable nature of our God, Dustin and Brandon share with us the heart behind hospitality. This book is both deeply theological and very readable.

Arguing that hospitality has the potential to change the world, Dustin and Brandon explore what this practice would look like lived out in our neighborhoods, communities, and churches.

Hospitality is one of those things that seems like a good idea. It is something we put on our lists to accomplish once in a while but it feels like a luxury. This is not something that we plan our lives around or consider genuine ministry. This is something we do when we are feeling lonely and have a free night and a friend or two that is also free.

But God, in the Scriptures, offers hospitality generously. He calls us in and makes us family. We are welcomed. That is the nature of our God (more on that here).Book Review: The Simplest Way to Change the World
Hospitality is not optional. It is a command for Christians. We are to welcome others as Christ has welcomed us (for more on this check out this post) according to Romans 15:7. God is by nature hospitable – welcoming people constantly and drawing our hearts to Him. Because of His hospitable nature, God commands and desires His people to be hospitable as they reflect Him to the watching world.

But this feels often far too ordinary. We want to go out and change the world. We want to find a huge need and meet it. And, while this is a good desire, because Micah 6:8 tell us that God requires us to act justly and love mercy, there is a genuinely a simple way to change the world and it starts with opening your heart and home.

“Ordinary does not equal insignificant… we must remember that the church has progressed for 2 millennia on God’s power at work around ordinary kitchen tables and living rooms.” Doesn’t that give you so much hope? Your kitchen table and your living room and your welcoming spirit are a perfect outpost for God to do His work in the world! That is beautiful.

When Christ came into the world to change it, He gathered a small group of people and lived life with them. He ate meals with them and travelled with them. He taught large crowds but He devoted His life mainly to journeying with a few disciples. And then those men took His message, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and ate meals together (Acts 2:46). Dustin and Brandon highlight this when they say “A hospitable God will create a hospitable people to represent him in every age.”

Hospitality has been an attribute and expectation of the people of God since the beginning of time.

Sometimes we view our homes as our own little refuges against the world and the authors of The Simplest Way to Change the World address this point well. “Our homes should be places of rest and rejuvenation but just like any other desire – when we elevate that above everything else we lose opportunities to live with gospel driven intentionality.”

So please… read this book! Take the time to laugh with the authors at their own awkward moments and rejoice as they tell stories of salvation. Hospitality is an evangelistic tool. It is a discipleship tool. It is a tool to be used in the context of the church.

If our churches were to truly grasp this idea, can you imagine how differently the world would view Christians? If we stopped living in fear of the people around us and viewed our ordinary days as God-ordained opportunities to welcome others with the truth of the Gospel, wouldn’t our lives be filled with so much purpose? Wouldn’t it be a joy to see others cast off their loneliness and find in Christ a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) because they found an open door in our lives?

I promise, if you take the time to read The Simplest Way to Change the World, you will be blessed and challenged. If you take the time to meditate on and implement its highly practical message your life will look different and it will be infinitely more missional.

Book Review: The Simplest Way to Change the World

What Others Have to Say about the Book

After completing this review, I read other reviews and the primary criticisms include the idea that this book is not Gospel-centered enough or practical enough. To address those criticisms, I would say that the nature of God is infinitely related to the Gospel. The authors spend a great deal of time discussing God’s hospitable nature. if we do not begin with God’s character, we cannot understand the Gospel. The authors address God throughout the Old and New Testament and consequently build a foundation for their theology of hospitality that is well-grounded and thought through. Divorcing the character of God from the Gospel is foolish.

As to the practical application criticism I will admit it did not have as many practical suggestions as other books I have read although they do include examples throughout and highlight a list of practical hospitality suggestions toward the end of the book. I do not find this a helpful criticism, however, because I have learned that God works in His people’s hearts as we seek Him. He gives us the ideas that will work in our homes and our contexts and often books that give only practical suggestions take the creativity God has placed within each individual out of the equation (more on that here).

If I were to give a criticism of this book it would only be that the emphasis on hospitality as a discipleship ministry was not as thoroughly explored as it was from the perspective of evangelism. Dustin and Brandon give insight into this arena but primarily focus on evangelism. This is their creative license, however, I have seen in my own hospitality efforts that it is beautiful and effective for both reaching those who do not believe and coming alongside those who do. This is discussed but not at length.

Suffice it to say, I highly recommend you read The Simplest Way to Change the World. I truly believe our churches would benefit greatly from developing a culture of hospitality and I believe this book can help us in that.


If you are looking for another hospitality resource, check out this review: Good Neighbors – A Review of The Art of Neighboring