In Practicing Hospitality, Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock offer practical insight for how all believers can practice hospitality from a biblical perspective. In a recent interview, Ennis challenged readers to demolish the walls of their comfort zone and to be counter-cultural even within their own communities to be intentionally hospitable:
- Demolish the walls of your comfortable social circle. If you are married, include singles in your next gathering; if you are single, invite a family for dessert and game night at your home, apartment, or dorm room. Choose to be counter-cultural in relation to your guest list.
- Readily accept and extend invitations to those who are different from you. One of the greatest hindrances in our Christian community is that we tend to stratify ourselves. Yet, Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:22 that he became all things to all men that he might save some. It may be awkward at first but you will soon learn to adapt—especially when you recall the truth of Philippians 4:13.
- During the 2010 spring semester I taught a new class for our HE-FCS students entitled “Resource Management for the Aging.” The focus of the class was twofold—to stimulate an awareness of the largest population of individuals in America and to challenge the students to become wise stewards of their resources so they are prepared for their senior years should the Lord not return. The results of the class were incredible. The students, through the distribution of a Senior Saint Survey, learned much about senior saints, their needs, and, potential ministry opportunities to them. The need for inter-generational relationships was clearly revealed throughout the various class assignments. There is no better way to initiate these relationships than through the extension of biblical hospitality.
- Begin to eradicate the barriers by embracing the truth of Titus 2:1-8. Be willing to be both a younger and older Christian in the lives of believers. Again, biblical hospitality provides a practical venue for implementing the inter-generational relationships outlined in this passage.
- Clothe yourself with humility (1 Peter 5:5) as you extend biblical hospitality. Walls are built when we think that we have all of the answers or our choices are the best choices for everyone. Learn the difference between biblical mandates and preferences and then expand your borders to include people of differing socioeconomic levels, family size, school choice, and even theological persuasions. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that as believers we should sharpen one another. There is no better way to abolish cultural differences between families than to purpose to dismantle the unbiblical walls we have constructed. Food is always a good lubricant to assist in the demolition process.