Hospitality 101

When I think of having people over, the first things that I want to do are cook and clean. But there are two important ways to prepare that we can easily neglect when we are getting ready for guests.

The first is to prepare your mind. While you are chopping vegetables, or vacuuming, you need to be thinking of the visit, and planning for the conversation. What sort of person is coming over? What questions can you ask them to stimulate conversation when it dies down? Are there topics or headlines that you know they will want to discuss? Is there anything that would offend them that you need to avoid? My Dad once ran outside during a meal and shot a stray cat in front of the dining room window, which brought a guest to tears. Try and avoid stuff like that.

Is there anything going on in their lives that you should specifically ask about? If they are believers, how can you encourage them in Christ?

If they are unbelievers, how can you share the gospel with them? Do you need to explain what you are doing in family worship? Run your thoughts by your husband so you can tag team during the visit.

How about their kids? Do you need to get out a basket of toys for a toddler, or a board game for some teenagers? Is there a way to involve their kids in the conversation?

If you are inviting more than one family or individual, you will also need to think about how they will interact, and how you can help them enjoy each other’s company. My mother once invited over two, wonderful Christian families, but didn’t think about the men’s theological convictions, and the two male guests ended up on their feet, shouting at each other at the dinner table. So it will save your guests some grief if you prepare in that way.

Thinking through all these sorts of things is a lot of work, but it will make the visit go smoothly and help your guests be more comfortable in your home. Check in tomorrow for the most important way to prepare for hospitality.