Hospitality is a good starting place for making disciples. It provides for you an opportunity to serve your disciple and to carve out a safe place for him to belong. Serving and making followers of Jesus are inseparable. Jesus told his disciples:
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:43-45)
Hospitality not only allows your disciple to observe service to others, it also provides him an opportunity to become part of the serving process; whether it is cutting the bread, setting the table, or taking drink orders. Teaching your disciple hospitality is an important component for the spreading of the gospel through serving others.
Henri Nouwen writes:
How does healing take place? Many words, such as care and compassion, understanding and forgiveness, fellowship and community, have been used for the healing task of the Christian minister. I like to use the word hospitality, not only because it has such deep roots in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, but also, and primarily, because it gives us more insight into the nature of response to the human condition of loneliness. Hospitality is the virtue which allows us to break through the narrowness of our own fears and to open our houses to the stranger, with the intuition that salvation comes to us in the form of a tired traveler. Hospitality makes anxious disciples into powerful witnesses, makes suspicious owners into generous givers and makes closed-minded sectarians into interested recipients of new ideas and insights.
Recommended Reading on Hospitality:
- “Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring” by Andi Ashworth. Colorado Springs: Shaw Books. ISBN 0-87788-048-4
- “Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meal with Sinners” by Craig L. Blomberg. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-2620-3
- “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Garden City: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-03212-9
- “A Gentleman Entertains: A Guide to Making Memorable Occasions Happen” by John Bridges and Bryan Curtis. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 2000. ISBN 1-55853-812-7 (Great for beginners!)
- “Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition” by Christine D. Pohl.
- “L’Abri” by Edith Schaeffer. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1969, 1992. ISBN 0-89107-668-9