2016 Hospitality Challenge

Hospitality

PLEASE NOTE (June 15, 2016): It saddens me to announce that I have decided to discontinue the Hospitality Challenge due to lack of interest. While I believe most Christians like the idea of hospitality, I think there are few of us left who actually are willing to make the sacrifice necessary to actually do anything about it. Plus I also realize that so many are already so busy working for the Lord–perhaps even in the area of hospitality–that they just cannot squeeze another thing in. And, so, I thank those of you who did give some effort to this challenge. I hope that it blessed at least a few people in the last six months.

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When I was growing up, it was not unusual for us to go to someone’s house for dinner. This continued on into my young-married years, where it would be quite normal for us to have a meal at someone’s house or for us to have guests over for ice cream after Sunday night church. But, somehow, in the last twenty years, all that has changed.

Somehow life became too busy to entertain. Before we knew it, we were so wrapped up in activities we had no time to do something kind for someone else.

Somehow we become more concerned about impressing others than about practicing hospitality. And before we knew it, the worry about having a house that was clean enough, big enough, and stylish enough kept us from having guests over.

Somehow our privacy became all-important. And before we knew it, we were keeping our distance and not really knowing the people we go to church with. We stopped yearning for true fellowship with fellow believers and became content with a zillion acquaintances and few true friends.

So this year’s challenge is for us to step outside of our own little world and to get to know some of the people you see every Sunday. It’s a challenge to share the blessings of your home and your time with your co-workers, your extended family, and your acquaintances. It’s a challenge to step out of your comfort zone and into the will of the Father in this area of hospitality.

Here is the definition for Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

There are many ways we can show hospitality and it doesn’t always have to take place in our homes. My oldest daughter helped me come up with a variety of ideas for the challenge and I am excited about trying them. I hope you are, too!

Each month I will present a specific challenge for you. I will do so via a post, but will also add it to this page, so that each month you can come back here for a complete list of the year’s challenges. I will also be studying this idea of hospitality as presented in scripture and be sharing what I learn with you here on the blog. I am also hoping to have a few guest posts from a few different authors regarding this topic, as well.

The first challenge will be presented on January 4. Are you ready? Comment below if you are ready to join this new challenge!

 

Links for each month’s challenge are below–

January Challenge— Prepare your home for company and schedule dinner with someone you’d like to get to know.

February Challenge— Host a game night for friends.

March Challenge— Invite an acquaintance or two from your church or workplace for coffee; focus on  those who may be single, widowed, or divorced.

April Challenge– Invite some old friends for a Pizza Night.

May Challenge– Invite some church friends for a BBQ

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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68 thoughts on “2016 Hospitality Challenge

  1. Yes, very ready. I’m not sure if it’s culture or a sign of the times, but when we returned from Haiti, I noticed a big chance in hospitality. I want to do my part to change that.

  2. This is just what I’ve been looking for. My children are grown living on their own and I have felt the need to reconnect with old friends. Looking forward to your suggestions.

  3. I would love to take the challenge…and something that I have enjoyed doing myself, the “gift of hospitality” though I can say I too have fallen into the pit of: my house is not clean enough, or I don’t feel it’s good enough at times and I too have become so busy but I know I need to get back into God’s will for my life and the gifts he has blessed me with. Bring on the challenge for 2016!!!

  4. Yes, I’m in. I would like some input on one problem. I love to entertain, but have not opened my home up in quite some time, because so many people come into your home with eagle eyes inspecting every nook and cranny. We live here. Yes, we have everyday living clutter, but because of these “talking/gossiping” eyes, I feel my entire home has to be spotless. How do others handle this?

    • I’m laughing now. I just read January’s challenge. Okay, I’m all over it. I know where to begin. Looking forward to having my Sunday school class over. Thanks.

    • Oh, do I understand how you feel! I can only tell you about my experience. I had quite a battle with the Lord with this one until I finally “got” that it doesn’t matter what others think or say about me or my house. My job is to obey Him. But, that being said, while I know that’s true, I still do get so nervous and uptight worrying about what people think some days. I just intentionally decided that it wasn’t going to keep me from obeying in this area. But it’s hard!

  5. sounds good-sadly I am guilty also. When my husband was alive-we had people-even strangers to our house but since he’s been gone ( 7 ) yrs, I have slacked off.

  6. Just read your post about the innundation of technology into our lives via smart phones, etc. I wonder how much of our withdrawing into our homes and not entertaining anymore is an exhausted-from-constant-over-stimulation defense mechanism. I invited over a couple of families with kids my children’s ages for a casual meal and games with the kids. I was surprised at how extremely GRATEFUL one woman was. She just kept repeating it over and over as though no one had ever invited her family over for a long time and, in thinking about it, probably no one had. We certainly do not entertain as much anymore as when I was a kid.

    • What a great example you provide for us…a simple game night is easy and appreciated! I may work that one into one of the challenges if you don’t mind :) I do think you are right about technology over-stimulating us. I never thought about that before but I do think you may be on to something there.

  7. I just read this today, and I’m going to accept this challenge. My husband is an extrovert (I’m not) and always wants to have people over (I don’t) so this will please him too as well as help me reach out to others. At 57 it is comfortable to stagnate, but I want to really “live” the last half (okay, one-third) of my life.

    • Oh, yes, I agree! As we head into our 40s and 50s it is easy to throw our hands up in the air and give up at trying to look more like Jesus. But we are never given that right as believers, but instead are encouraged to continue the race and continue serving God until our last day on earth. So glad to have you on board :)

  8. I have been practicing this for years and a few things I’ve learned; 1. Most people are so floored that you invited them over, they don’t come with a critical eye, especially if you entertain at night when all the dust won’t show so easily. (I hate to dust). 2. I try to remind myself to focus on the people, not my house. SInce God looks on the inside and not the outside, I jokingly remind my company of the same thing, then everyone relaxes and I get a free pass on a less than perfect house. 3. If I’m going to go to all the trouble of cooking and cleaning, I invite the maximum number of people my table will hold and a full house disguises lots of dirt and clutter. 4. I try to make a company night some kind of theme night so people look forward to what we are having and they have a chance to voice any food allergies or dislikes. I’ve also learned to quit trying to be the “hostess with the mostest” and put pride aside and let people bring a side dish or dessert. Honestly this makes for a more interesting evening even for me and I’ve collected many new recipes because of it. It also puts company more on a level feeling if they get to contribute to the evening. 5. Always try to include one extrovert, party type person in the mix and there will never be a lack of conversation. That’s usually people’s biggest fear in entertaining. What will we talk about? A gregarious person will solve that fear for you. 6. My favorite and most rewarding hospitality comes when I look around and include anyone who has no family or can’t travel home when a holiday rolls around. Widows, military, divorced, singles, young marrieds far from home are a few I’ve included through the years. And an unexpected plus has been that it’s taught my kids that “family” doesn’t just mean blood.

    By venturing out years ago as a young married, I have enjoyed countless joy and fellowship through entertaining. My kids got so used to it that if we have a weekend meal alone, they think I’m mad at somebody because we don’t have company included.

    I hope I didn’t go overboard in sharing. Hospitality is just one of my passions and I get excited talking about it.

    • Thank you, Pat! I have actually discontinued it due to disinterest. While I believe many loved the “idea” of hospitality, I found that there were only one or two who were actually doing the challenges. I do hope that you will go ahead and do the challenges listed. I was so blessed by doing them myself. :)