Christian Hospitality

Messy Over Perfect

Hospitality can mean different things in different cultures. What comes to mind for you? Cooking a delicious meal, or throwing a Pinterest-worthy party? How can we make it more about Jesus? How can we learn to graciously receive the hospitality of others and also humbly extend it? In this 10-minute video from The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, Lauren Hansen sits down with Gloria Furman and Kristie Anyabwile to talk about their experience with hospitality throughout years of serving in ministry in the United States and abroad. 

Gloria Furman is a blogger and the author of three books: Glimpses of Grace, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and The Pastor's Wife. She and her husband serve at Redeemer Church of Dubai. Kristie speaks and writes on motherhood, marriage, and ministry. She and her husband serve at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC. 

When you think of hospitality, what comes to mind? Do you consider yourself a hospitable person? Why or why not?
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Gloria said that hospitality can be distinctly Christian when it points to Jesus and is done in the strength of Jesus. What motivates you to be hospitable? What might be different about your guest list, preparation, or home if you focused more on Jesus than anything else?
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Gloria and Kristie shared ways to graciously receive hospitality when crossing into a different culture:

  • Go in with a learner's mentality
  • Roll with the punches
  • Consider it a honor to be invited
  • Be sensitive to the culture 
  • Receive hospitality in the spirit its offered
  • Eat what you are served, no matter what
  • Receive the meal with gratitude and joy 
  • Follow the example of Christ

Share any experience you have with cross-cultural hospitality, even in different parts of the United States. How did you show sensitivity and respect to those families? What did you learn about the nature and gift of hospitality?
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Gloria said, “A productive home full of hospitality and service is messy. If we embrace the entire process of hospitality, knowing it will take a mess to bless someone, we will be less intimidated.”  

What intimidates you most about hospitality—the perfect meal, pristine house, lack of space, time or money? Why? How might embracing messy and imperfect alleviate intimidation and pressure?
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Gloria and Kristie shared a few ways you can extend hospitality regardless of time or money:

  • Have guests bring over salad ingredients for a salad night
  • Have guests bring their own bag lunches 
  • Involve your kids in the process, specially preparation
  • Wash dirty dishes after hosting 
  • Find ways to make it easy on yourself 
  • Plan ahead of time  

Which of these might you consider trying this month? Why? What other ideas do you have for embracing messy and Jesus-centered hospitality?
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Jesus told his disciples that he came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mat. 20:28). May this be our vision of hospitality—seeking not to be served, but to sacrificially serve our families, friends, neighbors, church, community, travelers, and strangers all with Jesus and for Jesus.  

For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here