“Should a Pastor invite parishioners over to their home?”
I was asked that question while on a women’s ministry panel last week.
My 30 second response time brought out the quick answer of “Absolutely!”
Which in hindsight was possibly very discouraging to the one who texted in that question to the panel.
My quick answer possibly annihilated and set that precious heart even more on edge with a sense of obligation and dread in having to open their home. And in that way, my heart hurts for them.
If I could roll back the clock and answer that question again my answer would be softer, kinder and more grace filled.
If I could sit down with that sweet friend over a cup of coffee I would listen better and hear her story.
I understand not everyone is ready to open up their home and let others in. I get that.
Our homes are a real and vulnerable part of us. It’s where we’re real. It’s where we throw our socks down and keep our dirty dishes on the counter. This is where others see the “me, we and us” of our family. It can be scary and intimidating to open up one’s home and invite others in.
My hubby and I have lived with our home doors pretty open. This hasn’t come without judgement, criticism and even sometimes unkind words thrown in our direction. So I understand where fear of opening up can be scary. On the flip side, we have many wonderful experiences of friendship, laughter and deep relationship building because we opened our doors to others.
Here’s what I’ve learned through the school of practicing hospitality.
- The house doesn’t have to be perfect– Two things happen when we strive for this standard.
- We stress ourselves and our family out in trying to achieve that standard.
- We stress our guests out when they feel the tension in the air from our own family stress. Your guests will feel more at ease when you and your family are at ease and comfortable in your own space.
- Serve a family favorite for food. – This I have learned the hard way. I’ve tried new recipes out on guests and they’ve flopped. I’ve tried to impress and it just doesn’t work well for me. So instead, I stick with the tried and true. I prepare food my family loves and stuff I’ve made a hundred times. I’m comfortable in making it and I know it will get eaten!
- Nothing opens up the door of conversation better than opening your home – Our homes invite others to see what is important to us. It’s the framed pictures on the wall that hold stories of those we love. It’s sitting around a common table and passing food as we all serve each other. It’s letting others see us where were comfortable.
- “Be inventive in hospitality” Romans 12:13 (The MSG). The word “hospitality” means making friends and family out of strangers. This can come in all sorts of way. Barbecuing in the backyard, sipping lemonade on the porch, guests bringing their own dish to share in your kitchen or even ordering a pizza and hanging out in the family room. Remember it’s not about perfection, it’s living real in our homes.
If the only time our people in our congregations see us is on Sunday mornings they get a false impression of how we live. They see us only in our dressed up Sunday smiles and our handshake/hug greetings. Opening our homes invites others to see us in our homes, they see a bit of our real and how we live.
Dave and I believe we are called to journey with others through life. We live through job losses and transitions, weddings and divorce, baby beginnings and saying good-bye to loved ones. It’s a journey of life together. Yet it’s hard to journey with others if we only travel together on Sunday mornings.
We can preach how to live on Sunday mornings but when we invite them into our homes, we’re showing how to live Jesus real in our everyday lives.
My home is where I live real with my kids… live real with my spouse and live real with my socks on the floor and my feet on the coffee table.
This is how our lives show Jesus real in our everyday world.
Opening our homes to others is about sharing time with them in the living room of our lives. Our feet rest casually on the coffee table and we talk together through the stories of our every day without interruption from a waitress or the noise of the restaurant. We simply enjoy the company of the ones we are with and share together our lives.
As Pastors are we required to have parishioners in our home? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Do I think it’s a great way of inviting others in and living real with those we journey alongside? ABSOLUTELY!
We’re not called to live in a perfect house or be a perfect hostess. Instead we invite others to live real with us as we journey life together.
Jump into the conversation:
- How do you feel about having people into your home?
- What scares you the most about inviting others in?
- What has helped you in inviting others over?
I would love to hear from you! Jump in the comments below.