Missional Journal Vol. 1 No. 8 – Biblical Hospitality

What is your experience with hospitality? What can you add to the discussion?

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7 Responses to Missional Journal Vol. 1 No. 8 – Biblical Hospitality

  1. Joe Longo says:

    Dave,

    I think your observations about hospitality are very thought provoking. Our Western culture is very busy and we are so narcasistic we only think of our protection and our resources. This is pretty funny when you think of it because our relationship with Christ makes us more safe and abundantly richer than anybody outside the body. Because our cup overflows we have the ability to reach out to others.

    I think Jesus predicted this lack of hospitality very well in the Olivet Discourse. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12).

    I think another problem is we are program or project oriented in our thinking as opposed to being people oriented. Program or project thinking allows us the safety of compartmentalizing our lives. The order it provides makes us feel safe. Plus, it’s a lot less time consuming.

    I will be sharing your article with my wife and we will talk about how we can better show hospitality and, therefore, show others the love of Christ.

    Joe Longo

  2. When I read Prof. Dunbar’s latest journal I realized God is at work in this area of our church. In particular our youth ministries. As the Youth Pastor of WRC our theme for the next 3-4 weeks will be on visiting and inviting. This will be based primarily on how God visited us through his Son and extends hospitality to us through the work of the Cross! Talk about someone stepping outside of their bounds by coming from heaven to earth and taking on the very flesh of a human. This past summer I was able to lead a missions team to Brazil and learned that as a culture they seem to be more biblically accurate because they spend time visit one another so frequently. They adopt children off the street. They love those that are marginalized when they could go on their merry way. Praise God for his blessed effort to come down to visit us (John 1:1,14) and then invite us into his Kingdom. We need to go and do likewise.

  3. Jim Arcieri '85 says:

    Dear Dave – three quick practical thoughts.

    1. The first year in our church plant, we began a “Sunday Welcome Meal,” program, in which a family in the church (we only had 10 families to start with) would sign up on the Sunday of their choice, to prepare a meal for visitors on that particular Sunday. Eight families signed up – even one middle aged couple that, although Christians for several generations, had never done anything like that before. It was highly successful – visitors couldn’t believe they would be so welcomed. An added benefit – when no visitors came, other families in the church would be invited, and so it strengthened relationships that way as well. Often visitors had already made other plans, but came back a second Sunday prepared to take us up on the offer. i would highly recomend this to any church, but particularly church plants.

    2. Greg Harris teaches that there are four seasons to life, of 20 years each – preparation, production, provision, and protection. The third season, age 40 – 60, is the season where your dominiant activity is Hospitality, because most of your children are grown (and so don’t distract your attention away from guests), you have the financial and time resources to do so, and the respect of your age. It is a great time for people in mid-life to discover how effective and influential they can be, especially on young couples, if they would schedule regular calendar dates to do so (instead of thinking how they can spend all their time on themselves, children etc). My wife and I have practiced this, and the rewards are wonderful.

    3. One of the 20 requirements in 1 Tim. 3 for being an elder / deacon is someone who is “devoted to loving the stranger” – literal translation. When I trained our elders / deacons, I made it clear that serving in that office meant they would be expected to regularly host church events and people in their homes. This helps weed out those men and their wives who may want to have authority in a local church, but really are disqualified because they don’t live dedicated Christian lives at home. I’d encourage pastors to model hospitality, and challenge their leadership to do the same.

    Thanks for your missional emphasis, and all your fine leadership at BTS. Keep up the good work!
    Blessings
    Jim Arcieri
    (757) 538 – 2282

  4. Michael Manney says:

    The ironic thing is that we as church leaders have tended to over program our church life to the point that we have left no time for our congregations to be hospitable to friends, neighbors and family. Those who realize what they have done often try to make up for this by starting another program, a hospitality night or whatever it may be, thus perpetuating the cycle. This often feels contrived and rarely pushes us to be hospitable to those we are sent to. Rather, we end up requiring our people to come to another fellowship or social, or divide up the congregation and ask people to sign up to have other people whom they have no natural connection to,over for a meal. We wear out our “committed” people to the point that if they have free time at home (and that is a big if) they feel guilty for taking it for themselves, and the not-so-committed feel so guilty for not being involved that they they don’t even attempt it. Maybe what we need to do “un”-program so that people have the the freedom to be hospitable.

  5. Dave Dunbar says:

    Jim: Good practical thoughts. I believe modeling hospitality is a particularly important part of discipling younger believers.

    Joe/Mike: I agree that over-programming can and often does get in the way of a hospitable life-style. On the other hand, the kind of organizing that Jim describes in #1 above can be very helpful. Spontaneity is wonderful, but sometimes it needs the encouragement of a good organizer!

  6. Diane says:

    Thanks, Dr. D., The role of hospitality of Christians was huge in my life when starting out as a Ctian school teacher in a foreign land (NJ) with nothing to my name but a French horn and a bottle of ketchup. And I’ve watched my mother model hospitality to Christians and non-Christians alike. She never picks her “upper class” friends to invite to Thanksgiving or Easter dinner, but manages to find people without resources, money, family, or anything attractive about them, and invites them. Some of these down-and-outers keep coming to her time after time when they are in trouble and at that point she connects them to the people at her church who are trained to help in those areas. Some of them struggle with being able to accept the help they need but my mom is a very tough person and encourages them to acquiesce. I can see her, hand on hip, waving a spoon with the other hand and preaching “…if you don’t, you’re blocking what God has gifted those people to give.” People listen to her because they respect her. When they eat with our family it obviously delights her to offer hospitality to them, and to introduce her “children” to them as if she is delighted they are her friends. She is very effective in restoring dignity to people who have lost it in other areas of life.

    Diane

  7. Dave,
    Now you strike at my heart…
    My wife, Arlene, and I are convinced that real people in real life situations, particularly spending time in one’s home, not being entertained or wined/dined…but just being cared for…that is where great ministry can take place. That is where the authenticity, the integration of life and faith, the expression of love can have its impact. We are finding that spending time with a committed Christian couple, watching how they interact with their family in the home setting, providing a haven of stability and security for people who don’t often experience the same…these are making impact and will leave their impression on lives that many an exegetical study could not. Thanks Dave…you’ve spurred us to keep going as we’ve been led.

    Rick

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