You can form deep relationships and start Bible centered conversations within the regular rhythms of home life as you host. Check these simple ways!
How to Use Your Home to Form Deep Relationships
I peered at my friend over the lego box as my daughter crawled around the living room floor. Her little brother was just about ready to make his debut and I leaned across my ever expanding pregnant belly as I reached for another lego to add to the tower my little girl was only slightly interested in. My friend and I added piece after piece as we discussed life plans, challenges, and our spiritual struggles and growth.
We spent two hours bent over various children’s toys while my little girl ran around and distracted us with the need for a snack, or the desire for a new thing to be entertained by. Our conversations were slightly distracted but full of honesty and joy.
That story has morphed and developed over the last several years but has taken place hundreds of times in my home and I have experienced the exact same thing in the homes of countless friends and loved ones.
In the midst of real life, real relationships can be developed and nurtured.
Over these years of walking out hospitality and community building, I have noticed several things that make it easier to use our homes to encourage these relationships and gospel centered conversations.
If I’m being honest, this is a challenge for me but I recently had a guest in my home who cut through the small talk with piercing clarity and I was surprised by the depth of relationship that developed quickly.
She asked me about how long my husband and I had been married, how we met, the story of my Christian faith, and what I was reading at the time.
I took the opportunity to return these questions to her. I learned a lot about this new friend, we didn’t have the awkward silence that flows from too many questions that aren’t good conversation starters, and we had fuel to further expand this relationship.
Asking good questions (even thinking about this beforehand) is a great way to use your home to build deeper relationships.
Share Your Own Heart
Right along with asking good questions, this one can be hard to do! Share yourself with your guests.
I’m not saying you have to share all of the nitty gritty details of your entire life history with your guests the first (or 100th) time you get together but you should be willing to share yourself with them. Love them well by being honest and open.
When you have been hurt in the context of relationships in the past, it can be awkward and downright hard to open yourself up to this again but it is important. We are supposed to live our lives in community. But real, deep community CANNOT form if we are unwilling to let others in.
Not everyone will be your best friend but almost everyone can tell if you are being genuine or just looking for a glossy conversation to take care of your “hospitality checklist”.
Offer not only your home but also your heart. Be genuine with your guests. Share yourself and depth of relationship will follow.
God knew that people are sinful and sometimes hurt others but He still commanded that we be in relationship with one another (Galatians 6:2, John 13:34-35) and nowhere does He allow us the out that we have been hurt before. Entrust your heart to Him and do good to others (1 Peter 4:19).
Read Books Together
We all know that I love to read (check out this post for more about that!) but I don’t just love to read alone. I love to read with other people.
This is an opportunity for me to have accountability for my reading with others and to provide accountability. It also starts great conversations, helps us understand the topics better as we explore various perspectives, and increases our discernment as we walk through truth and error in relationship.
If you want to start gospel centered conversations and use your home to form deeper relationships, reading books together is a great place to start!
If you would like some recommendations for what to start with, you can check out my book review section or shoot me an email so we can chat about what you are specifically looking for (connect with me here).
We have talked about this before, but it is important to remember that we don’t have to have everything together in order to welcome. When our homes are perfect and our children behave like angels and we only talk about our spiritual successes, we make ourselves unapproachable.
Relax! Let people see the real you – God already does!
God has not given us the hospitality commands for our drudgery but for our joy! Enjoy the people He has brought into your life and relax so they can relax too!
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Do Something Together
In the story I told you to start this post, the legos provided this but at different times in my home it has been a million things. Just this week a friend and I chatted while we painted in her house. Often I have chatted with friends about the deep issues of their lives and spirituality over craft projects I roped them into or meals we were making together.
Especially in the beginning of relationships, it can be helpful to have a little distraction to take away from the awkward feeling we have when we are letting others into our lives. You can bake cookies or paint something or play with the kids toys as they run around or do almost anything that interests you.
But don’t feel that if you don’t have hours to spend staring into one another eyes as you discuss Scripture that you have failed. That is simply not true! Pull out cookie dough and ask a friend to help you roll cookie balls while you ask about their understanding of Christianity. Offer to help paint someone’s living room while you ask how their marriage is doing.
Rosaria Butterfield talks a lot about how genuine hospitality seeks to blur the line between host and guest in her book The Gospel Comes with a House Key. Asking a guest to contribute to something you are doing is a great way to accomplish this and it instantly puts people at ease because they are no longer only the subject of your service but are coming along as a contributor also.
Hospitality to Form Real Relationships
Sometimes hosting will result in silly conversations and games and lots of laughter. I love when that happens! And sometimes hosting will be full of heart wrenching honesty and deep camaraderie. Both are valuable and good and can be God-honoring.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself but also don’t be ashamed to seek out opportunities to build deep relationships and start Bible centered conversations.
How do you use your home to form these relationships? How do you start conversations about Scripture and the Christian walk? Let me know in the comments below!