I figure if you are reading this then you have a heart to share God’s love everywhere you have influence, especially in your home for life group or when having guests. My friends would probably not call me a hospitality guru, but my husband and I have hosted life group for a while and have tried to watch and learn to pick up a few things (both natural and supernatural) along the way.
I started paying attention at my mom’s house. It is decorated in the same exact things she put out in the 70’s, has a lot of clutter, and few places to sit, but everyone in my family wants to be there. I figured out—apparently all that doesn’t matter. Even if she isn’t consciously thinking about it, she is combining some supernatural and natural things to make people feel loved, valued, and RELAXED. You can tell she values people above things, isn’t uptight about a single thing, is accepting and never, ever critical or judgmental of anyone. I think because of that, the peace and love inside her house is palpable. My sister-in-law even jokes that if she and my brother ever divorce that she gets visiting rights to Mama Jane! Mom always has a variety of goodies out like nuts, M & M’s, and fruit slices, but she lays out from the beginning of an event what she wants people to do and how to serve themselves. I think people feel comfortable because of it.
At my own house, I always try to pray over our time together before life group. If God’s Breath and Being isn’t on what we are doing, it is not worth doing! I walk around my house and pray for God’s peace to be manifest, that people would feel God’s love, that His presence would be felt, and that our words will be sweet and led to accomplish His purposes for the night.
The supernatural seamlessly blends with what we do in the natural. It makes me think of a time a while back when I was asked to make dessert for a dinner where church leaders were serving a meal for a guest minister. I made a strawberry cheesecake which is a complicated recipe (for me) and takes two days to make. During that time while I baked, I determined to pray over the cake—that it would be refreshing and delightful to those who ate it, a blessing to them, and make them feel loved. It was the weirdest thing because people kept talking and talking about that cake! I just smiled because I knew it was the touch of God on it. I am so grateful for his supernatural touch on my natural work.
A natural thing we try to do at life group is to be relaxed since it seems to help our friends be able to relax. In our life group, if anything seems awkward, you can bet that we will just call it out as awkward and laugh about it. I don’t want this to sound flippant, but we joke around about “Greeting people warmly” when we are at the front door. Laughing about us awkwardly greeting someone seems to take the tension off us and also new friends coming in.
We have a few other day-to-day things that we try to do as well. We try to make sure the house is clean and doesn’t stink (hard while the dog was still alive), have all the things out that we will need for the meal, and turn on lots of lights throughout the house. We want the temperature to be comfortable for everyone, so we have blankets everywhere and pass them around to (and joke about) our cold-natured friends. When I see someone get cozy at life group with one of my blankets, I know we have made them feel at home (or frozen them out totally 😊). I have a drink dispenser that we put water and slices of fruit in. I promise it isn’t hard to slice a couple of limes or oranges and dump it in the water, but we have one member that jokes she keeps coming back because she loves our “fruity water”. Whatever it takes!
Life group is so important to my spiritual well-being. I absolutely love how the church leaders have it set up and organized. It is a low-pressure way to be spurred on to know my Father better and to help others, too. Life group gives me an excuse to be blessed by the gifts and wisdom in others that I wouldn’t have any other way. I know you, too, can find a group that you love! Check out the directory online or in a seat pocket at church!
We would like to thank Karen Earhart for writing this blog!