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Three Books You Should Read on Biblical Hospitality

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When was the last time I had an unbeliever in my home? Do I know the names of my neighbors? Do they even know I am a Christian? I’ve had to ask myself these questions recently. And I’ve had to do some repenting. I am just not as hospitable as I should be.

In the recent years there has been an uptick in books published on the topic of biblical hospitality. I haven’t had the opportunity to read all of them (who has that kind of time?). But I have read three of them, and I am glad I did.

If you are interested in learning more about what the Bible has to say about hospitality, check out the brief summaries of those three books below. They are listed in the order in which I would recommend you read them.

The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch.
This short book of about 50 pages is a great introduction to the topic of biblical hospitality. Strauch describes hospitality as “a missing crown jewel” in the life of many contemporary Christians in the West. He also explains how hospitality is a way to express love for the church family and how it’s primary function is that of an evangelistic “launching pad for the gospel.”

But perhaps the most beneficial part of this book is the simple, straightforward explanation of the New Testament passages that address hospitality. It is here that the seemingly ignored principle of hospitality is put before the eyes of the reader and the weight of the believer’s responsibility to be hospitable is made clear.

Strauch ends with a chapter on some practical tips on how to practice hospitality and he includes a study guide that can be used for small group Bible study setting.

I would start with this book because it is a simple and biblical treatment of the subject.

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield.
Even though I recommend Strauch’s to be read first, there is no doubt that The Gospel Comes with a House Key is the most stirring book on hospitality (and perhaps the gospel in general) on the list. Butterfield argues for “radically ordinary hospitality” by weaving biographical anecdotes together with theological reflection and practical lessons about her own adventures of opening her home to family, neighbors, and strangers.

Butterfield, a former lesbian and tenured English professor at Syracuse University, describes her own conversion which resulted from the hospitality extended to her by a Presbyterian pastor and his wife. She notes that coming to faith in Christ in a Post-Christian world often means being forsaken by friends and family. Therefore, she concludes, Christians must be ready to offer a gospel that comes with a house key, promise that sinners will find a new family and a new home (sometimes quite literally) with God’s people.

Read this book slowly, be moved by the gut-wrenchingly honest stories, and enjoy the hospitality of Butterfield home.

The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life by Dustin Willis & Brandon Clements.
The Simplest Way to Change the World is the most practical book on the list. Willis and Clements argue that opening up your home to your neighbors is the simplest way to do evangelism. Though I sometimes thought “I could never be as hospitable as Rosaria Butterfield is” while reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key, I never felt that way while reading The Simplest Way to Change the World.

If you have come to understand the biblical commands after reading Strauch, and if you have been moved and motivated by Butterfield, this book will really make the path to hospitality seem concrete and realistic.

Posted by Aaron Swain with

Sunday School: A Place to Care

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Over the next few weeks, Pastor Mark will be writing a series of blog posts on the subject of Sunday School and its various benefits. In those posts he will give some thoughts about how our Sunday School teachers could continue to create environments where ministry and mission can take place.

Sunday School Teacher,

 Thank you so much for leading one of CHBC’s Sunday School groups.  This is a vital ministry arm of our church, because we know that transformational discipleship occurs more often as believers meet in small groups around the study of God’s Word. 

In addition to the power of learning in Sunday School groups, is the opportunity to know about the needs of brothers and sisters in our family and assisting one another in practically meeting those needs.  When needs are beyond the abilities of the group or church, thank you for praying and directing your group to help from other resources.

Consider the power of some of these practical ways to minister to people in your group:

Provide a Meal
Providing a meal, or asking others to help with a few meals. Often people in our groups participate in more than one ministry area of the church.  Consider making sure the leaders of these other areas are aware of any needs that you are free to share, and allow them to participate in helping your group minister.

Just be Present
The ministry of presence can be very helpful. We do not always have the words to say in a particular circumstance, but just being present reminds us that God loves us and is present Himself.

Meet a Need
Are there practical, physical things that could be done. Babysitting, providing transportation, cleaning the house, mowing a lawn, running an errand, or some other personal act?  Don’t ask, “What can I do for you?”  Pray for God to help you see a need, and then just take care of it if you are able.  If you cannot, then  coordinate with someone else in the group or the church to take care of it.

Pray for People (and let them know it!)
We all like to know people are praying for us. So, while meeting practical needs, send a card, a text, or an email just to let them know that they are being lifted up in prayer. 

Share Needs Openly
Make sure the rest of the group is aware of any needs that exist in the group, if you are free to share. Help them know how they can help and pray.

Share the Load
Appoint someone, or perhaps several others to take on these care responsibilities for your group. This is helpful to you, it helps others be involved, and it reminds people in need that some besides the teacher are there to care for them.

Seek Help From the Staff 
As your pastors and ministry director we value your leadership.  We are always available as a resource for ideas, prayer, and guidance through the variety of struggles and trials we will walk through as Christians.  Never hesitate to reach out to us to make sure we are aware of the needs in the body, or to seek support or counsel.


God bless you, as you serve the Lord Jesus Christ,

Pastor Mark and the ministry staff of CHBC


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