So we’re talking about shaping the culture of your small group, making sure that the culture of the framework of your group is Gospel centered. So I want to look at one aspect of Gospels centrality in your group with hospitality. So when you think of the word hospitality, what comes to mind? For me, I think about Martha Stewart, the front of a glossy magazine. Everything’s perfect. Everything’s laid out perfectly. The food’s going to taste great, but then I think it’s just not me. I just don’t have the gift of hospitality. I don’t think that’s the complete picture of what hospitality is. If you read, especially the New Testament, there’s a lot of references to being hospitable. I mean, if you look at first Peter 4:9says, be hospitable to one another without complaining. Romans 12:13 says, share with the saints and their needs. Pursue hospitality.
So it’s obviously important. It was so important that Paul listed it as a qualification for being an elder or a deacon. So how do we do that? How do we pursue hospitality? Well, if you look at the original word, the Greek word for hospitality, it actually means two words, love and stranger. I think that’s a powerful description of what the Gospel is. You know when we were strangers and aliens, God took us in when we didn’t have a home or a family, God brought us into his. When we were without hope in the world, God adopted us as his children and with the ultimate gift of hospitality, ultimate act of hospitality God gave us his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for us, and Jesus epitomized hospitality. Everywhere he went, he didn’t even have a home or casserole dishes or any of that, but he welcomed people into his life.
So how do we do that? Some practical ways to show hospitality in your group. First, just be open to inviting strangers into your group. Having that love of strangers, people that you meet, that need the community that you’re offering, invite them to be a part of it. Also, remember that everything speaks when it comes to the environment of your small group, so make sure there’s a smiling face at the door. There’s a welcoming attitude when it comes to your small group. Also be first the first to serve and the last to eat. Something just as basic as waiting for everyone else to eat before you do and then being the first one to serve other group members when there’s a need in the group, and then finally pray consistently for the group. Sometimes we forget that, but that’s where hospitality begins is with prayer, so let’s make sure that the hospitality part of our group is Gospel centered.