Nov 8, 2023

Hospitality in the Little Years

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by Katie Rapp

Whenever the doorbell rings or there is a knock at the front door, my kids all race to see who it is.

They’ve actually become so accustomed to people coming into our home that sometimes they will just yell, “come in!” and we’ve had to have conversations about how you need to answer the door first to see who it is!

Coming to our house is not a quiet getaway, nor is it going to be a place for deep, uninterrupted conversation in this stage of life. Usually people are greeted with a Nerf gun or are berated by questions and greetings and little happy feet. Sometimes I think people will be overwhelmed or I am generally nervous about my children’s behavior or the even the state of my home.

It has definitely grown to be more challenging to host in our home as our family has grown. Often these days, extending hospitality means more dishes in my already messy kitchen. It also means I will most likely be spending time in the kitchen prepping food when my time already feels stretched thin.

It’s easy to think we can start offering hospitality when our children are older or less cluttered, but the truth is, there is no perfect time and these years can be spent hosting people joyfully. I am often shifting my perspective and reminding myself of the amazing benefits of having young children in our home while we host others.

Scripture is full of examples of people practicing hospitality. Ranging from the Old Testament when Abraham and Sarah entertained three strangers to many examples in the New Testament, the charge to be hospitable to each other, to strangers and to friends continues throughout God’s Word.

Serving others in our home costs us something – our time, our energy, our money, and so on. We are showing people a picture of the gospel and how radical God’s love is. The picture of what God has done for us should motivate us to exemplify the same things that God loves.

Maybe you don’t know where to start or who bring into your home, but you can start by praying and asking God if there is someone He wants you to bring into your home. Chances are, we all have people in our lives that would love to come over and grow in a deeper relationship with you or your family.

I did not grow up in a home that practiced a lot of hospitality so this has not come easily or naturally.

We have spent years making it a part of our natural rhythm. We don’t over think it. We use paper plates or we will order pizza. You won’t be eating off of beautiful china or a perfectly set table, but we will gladly share our life with you!

We really believe it’s about gathering people together and talking with them about Jesus. It’s less about the details these days for us and more about the opportunity to model God’s heart. We get to have conversations about blessing others with what He has given us.

Everything we have was given to us by God.  Hospitality will look really different for every family in every season, but let me encourage you today to cherish the children you have been given and disciple them as you obey God to show hospitality. It does take extra work in the little years, but if we’re thoughtful and plan ahead it can be an amazing teaching tool for our kids to love others more than themselves and show people the light of Christ.

A few examples of how to involve children in hospitality:

  1. Have them set the table or decorate the table with place cards. I’ve found that they think this is exciting and fun – not an obligation. Capitalize on their willingness!
  2. Involve them in the menu planning and food prep. What is a food item they would get excited about? Can you prep something the day before with their help?
  3. Have them greet guests at the door. They can even make welcome signs or décor!
  4. Train them to see needs and meet them. If someone needs a new napkin, or a drink refill, etc. There are age appropriate tasks for everyone to meet the needs of others.
  5. Teach them to walk the guests to the door and thank them for coming.

No matter what season of life you are in with your kids, hospitality is something that your family can do. What ways can you show hospitality this week and involve your kids?

Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!

Tyler OJ Campus

Teresa Ator:

Bethanie Tayler:

Tyler UB Campus

Max Heller:

Chrisleigh Heller:

Lindale Campus

Molly Pontius:

Debra Kirby: