When I began looking into hospitality about 12 years ago, I felt totally overwhelmed. It felt like such a big thing to be, because I just didn’t know what it looked like or how to practice it. So in today’s last episode of our hospitality mini series, we are going to chat about how we can get practical with practicing hospitality.
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1) Make a list of 4-5 wonderful hospitality recipes to make
Don’t try and reinvent the wheel each time. Create a few go-to staples you make and do those each time. The more you practice, the easier and more second nature it will become. Make sure to come up with at least one great gluten free meal and one great dairy free meal in the rotation.
2) Start inviting
Seriously, just do it. The first time you blurt out, “Would you like to come to our house for dinner?” might feel awkward! But keep doing it. It becomes easier.
3) If you don’t have kids
Please invite the families over with kids. Go to the thrift store and have one small box of toys that you can pull out when kids come over. And don’t be offended if the family with kids instead invite you over to their house.
4) Plan Ahead
I know the first few times we extended hospitality to people we didn’t know very well, it felt like it took a week to get ready. Things I don’t normally notice (such as cobwebs and dirty mirrors) were suddenly obvious to me! I felt overwhelmed and I was exhausted after the first few people came over. But as time went on, I became more comfortable with the routine. We started practicing hospitality so often that I was always planning ahead to the next get together. This way the house never got too out of hand. After one night of hospitality I knew I had better stay on top of the house and cleaning because a new family would be in our dining room the following week!
5) Think outside the box with hospitality, it doesn’t have to cost a ton
Practicing hospitality doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Many people feel that they don’t have room in their budget to have families over. But don’t stretch yourself. Start with a commitment of having a family over once a month and serve pizza! Everyone loves pizza; your meal doesn’t have to be complex or fancy. Many families will offer to bring something to dinner. LET THEM! If they ask, let them bring a dessert or side dish. Try out freezer cooking and make all your meals ahead, it can save a lot of money!
6) Learn from others
As you start extending hospitality, just wait and you will get invited over to other’s houses as well. Learn from what they do. When you get invited to other’s houses, make a mental note of what they do from the moment you walk in the house. Do they have music playing? What kinds of questions did they ask? Did they get a card game out or offer coffee after dinner? This is the best way to learn new tips and tricks. Offering coffee at the end of a meal is a great comfort to offer, but if you never drink coffee past 10am then you might not think about it. Glean from other’s experiences and wisdom.
7) And ASK
When practicing hospitality, ask, ask, ask. Many people that we have invited over to our house, we felt nervous about asking…will they want to come over? We barely know them…do they even know who we are? But everyone loves to be invited over. So just ask! Ask about food allergies or preferences. You don’t want to make a big meaty lasagna only to find out that one kid is allergic to tomatoes and Mom is a vegetarian! Ask other women for their hospitality tips. Many women like to share what they do to make their home welcoming, so ask those around you how they do it!
Remember, it’s not about your home, it’s about your heart
At the end of the day your candles don’t matter. Your cooking skills are not what is on display. The dessert and music in the background will quickly be forgotten. What will not be forgotten is your heart. What really matters is your heart for serving the Lord and opening up your home! Remember that and don’t sweat the details
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