By Dhati and Angela Lewis
To develop healthy disciple-making practices, we must recapture the art of hospitality.
And for pastors and church planters, hospitality is a requirement (see 1 Timothy). Don’t take it lightly.
Your church members will replicate what they see in your lives. If you want your church family to display radical, sacrificial, Christ-like hospitality—it starts with you. It starts with your home.
Our Castle or His Weapon?
Have you heard the expression, “Every man’s home is his castle”? Often Christians use their homes as places of refuge to protect them from the outside world. Pastors especially can fall into this trap, seeking a safe haven from the demands of full-time ministry.
My wife and I see things a little differently.
Our houses are God’s houses, to be used first and foremost for Him. The houses we live in are tools for making disciples, a weapon to assault the gates of hell. Our home is a place where our family (the Church) grows in unity with one another.
From Angie, a Pastor’s Wife
I remember as a young adult going to my mentor’s home. I watched as they interacted, prayed together and went about everyday life.
I was blown away by the simplicity, yet profound way they each interacted with one another. I was not formally exposed to the Scriptures per se, but this family invited me to live and experience their world, whatever that was at the moment.
Today, I am married with six children, and my husband is a lead pastor and the Vice President of Send Network. To be honest—managing myself and seven other lives—I don’t have a lot of discretionary time. But I do have a house and natural rhythms I can invite people into.
Early in our marriage, Angie and I realized there was a discrepancy between what we saw in Scripture and what we lived out. As we walked through the gospels, we saw over and over that Christ was with His disciples. His life intersected with theirs.
Today, it seems like we have turned life-on-life discipleship into once-a-week meetings where we talk about life without ever living life together. If life-on-life relationships are essential to disciple-making, we quickly realized we would have to leverage our home to do so.
How We’ve Used our Home as a Weapon
As urban practitioners and church planters working to make disciples in Atlanta, hospitality gives us the ability to overcome barriers of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic differences that come with living in a diverse city.
For our family, this means our home is often full of people. In the past, we’ve invited students to live with us—for three weeks over the summer—as part of an intensive discipleship crash course.
And for the rest of the year, we invited young adults to live with us to further discipleship relationships. We studied the Bible and focused on applying its truth to every aspect of life. We covered issues like:
- Spiritual Disciplines
- Father wounds
Having people in our home has been a vital tool for us to engage in life-on-life discipleship. We are able to truly share our lives and share in the lives of those who live with us.
What about you?
Many times, when people hear how we do this, they respond, “I can’t have people live with me. So I can’t use my home.”
Don’t fall for that.
My family took the principle of hospitality and applied it in a way that worked for us at that time. You can do the same.
As you look for ways to use your home as a weapon for the Kingdom, here are a few principles to keep in mind:
- Host people, not just events
Think intersection, not addition. What do you already do in your home that you can invite others to do with you? Mundane chores become platforms for disciple-making when you invite others to be with you.
- Be intentional
Hospitality doesn’t happen by accident. The house you buy, the apartment you rent and the way you arrange your furniture can all be used to show hospitality.
- Be counter-cultural
Disciple-making involves life-on-life relationships—which means your real life, messy and all, must become a space you invite others into. It’s sacrificial, radical, rewarding and difficult. And so very sanctifying. Don’t settle for the comfort-driven cravings of our culture.
You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are.
Click here to read more stories about ordinary people living on mission.
Published February 24, 2020