By Jonathan Moseley
Hospitality has always been one of the greatest witnesses to the Gospel—from the early church to now. As Jesus welcomed us—enemies of God—into his presence through service, sacrifice, and love, so we invite others—friends, strangers, and yes, even enemies—into our homes to emulate our Savior’s heart. It’s a selfless act. The hospitable heart is a humble one. Those who obey Jesus by pursuing hospitality make a decision to joyfully offer up their time and their food and their space for their guests. We consider these things not for us, but for them. We know that Jesus has given us a mission to make disciples, and our homes are powerful instruments when placed in God’s hands to do just that. No wonder the command to show hospitality is all over the New Testament:
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13
“Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Titus 1:8
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
The Hub for Disciple Making
There are a host of other Biblical instructions that emphasize hospitality as a priority for New Testament Christians. But for Western Christians that value individualism and fail to assimilate our relationship with Jesus into our home lives, this becomes something often neglected. But God has given us space not to keep to ourselves; instead, we are to use this space to build his kingdom. The home is the hub for disciple making. You will rarely find greater opportunities to visually display and verbally proclaim the Gospel than your own home. Thus, here's why I plead with you not to let your space go to waste:
Modeling Best Happens in the Home
Learning to follow Jesus cannot be limited to a book study once a week. That’s just information transfer. People need to see us follow Jesus, not just hear about it. Bringing others into your experiences and setting an example for them is how Jesus did it. We let those we disciple into our lives to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, it’s invasive. Yes, it’s intimate. But it’s influential. You can’t make disciples at a distance. People need to be up, close, and personal so that you can model for them how to love Jesus. This happens best in the home.
Home Best Builds A Sense of Family & Trust
As you have people over time and time again, these people start to become your family. You are the person they go to for advice, when they're looking for a shoulder to cry on, or when they're in a crisis. And honestly, family is hard to come by, especially for those living far away from home or for those who have lost their family. We all have needs for stability, comfort, and love, and opening up your home helps to fulfill these needs. And there’s something that happens when you go out of your way to do this. People trust you, and they’re willing to share with you about difficult things. This trust also allows you to share hard things; part of disciple making requires building a relational bridge of trust strong enough to hold the truth that must travel across it. Building this trust best happens in the home.
Home Best Shows the Heart
Home is the place where you don’t have to hide the real you. It also encourages others to show you the real them. Home is where we can let our guards down, feel comfortable, and be vulnerable. At the same time, home is where our treasures emerge—the topics of conversation, our decisions about what & what not to watch, our familial rhythms—they all reveal what’s important to us. Our values become crystal clear when people spend time with us at home. Because of this, home can best show the heart of a person. And hopefully as Christians, home is the place where we can show our guests what makes us who we are and what we are all about, namely, our relationship with Jesus.
Successfully making disciples requires intimacy, consistency, and transparency to the truth of Jesus Christ. For the Good News of Jesus to make an impression on someone else, they need to see firsthand how it’s made a difference for us. That’s why I believe homes are strategic resources God wants us to use to make disciples. I want to offer 3 prayerful considerations moving forward:
1) Give God What You Have.
Whether your space is 2,000 square feet or 200 square feet, God can use it. Just remember, Jesus fed over 5,000 people with just a few small fish and loaves of bread. God can do a lot with a little. Commit your space to God, and watch how He will use it.
2) Consider Those Who Need Support.
Here, I'm thinking of internationals, singles (a scope that goes far beyond the "not-yet married"), and couples no longer close to home. Are there people around you who are going through something difficult? Who might be lonely because of the season of life they're in? Who need a sense of family? Reach out to them and have them over. Often.
3) Have Someone Live With You.
This is bold and radical, except not really. It only seems that way for Westerners—not according to Jesus or for those who want to honor God in everything they have. If you have an empty bedroom, fill it with someone you can disciple or someone in need. From experience, this could be one of the most impactful things you ever do for someone’s relationship with Jesus. It was for me. It’s probably the closest too you’ll get to how Jesus made disciples. It’s truly life on life.
Jonathan Moseley is the Director of Community and Operations at Renewal Church.