In a world where traditional outreach methods seem to be less effective than they used to be, hospitality in the widest sense has become the key to evangelism. A professional survey carried out in France for the CNEF (National Council of French Evangelicals) revealed that 23% of the population would like to talk with a believer over a cup of coffee! And I have noticed that several Christian books have recently been published on this topic. In the church I pastor in Paris, we have just reconfigured part of our church meeting room to create a cosy corner with easy chairs where people can sit and chat.
In the New Testament, there are specific commands to offer hospitality (Romans 12.13, 1 Tim 5.10, Hebrews 13.2, 1 Peter 4.9) and Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 3.12 “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else”. Every Christian can be involved in this. Ordinary Christians, who were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria after the stoning of Stephen, shared the Gospel wherever they went (Acts 8.1-4), and were among the first to bring the Gospel to non-Jews (Acts 11.19-21).
Hospitality may mean going out for a drink in a café or inviting them to your home for coffee or a simple meal, getting to know them, letting them see you (and your family) as you really are, answering their questions (Colossians 4.5, 1 Peter 3.15).
Why don’t you challenge your church members to make this a priority in their Christian service! Church activities can easily take up all our time, and we can often feel too busy or tired to reach out to others. But hospitality is something all Christians can do whatever their context. And it’s so simple. I love the expression which I once heard : “It was obvious but we did it”. I am convinced this is a really important factor in revitalizing our churches.
A book to read on hospitality
The Gospel Comes with a House Key : Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post-Christian World
by Rosaria Butterfield
Published by Crosssway Books
Winner of the 2019 Christianity Today Book Award in the Christian Living and Discipleship category.