From multiplying loaves and fishes to washing the disciples’ feet, hospitality and meal-sharing play an integral role in the gospel. And yet, why does inviting people into our home often feel like an impossible task?
Kari Kennedy has worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for twenty years. She has a resume that includes traveling worldwide and sending teams of people to evangelize throughout the Middle East. However, those closest to Kari know her best for her open home and ability to make anyone, truly anyone, feel welcome.
Below she shares five tips to make hosting easier for all of us.
1. Find some go-to meals.
“Nothing can really beat a Southern Living recipe in my mind.” Kari loves to serve jambalaya and gumbo because they feed a crowd. But choose whatever works best for you. Don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen? Order takeout. Hosting on a budget? Serve spaghetti. Or ask people to bring something. Either way, having a couple meals you feel confident in serving will make hosting way less stressful.
2. Keep it Simple.
“People think your house needs to be perfectly clean. People think that you’ve got to have matching dining ware.” But we don’t have to do that. Use the paper plates. Ask someone to bring dessert. When we stop stressing about the details, we can focus on the joy of having people gathered instead.
3. Allow people to come as themselves.
Kari describes one of her favorite memories from this past Easter, when her guest list included her gay neighbor, an agnostic, a cross-dressing student from a local college, a Japanese missionary, and herself. “I loved it because that’s the beauty of Christ. He brings us together whether someone believes or not… and all of who they are, all of what they bring to the table is welcome.” So next time you host, invite a new guest or two. You never know what they might bring to the table.
4. Drop the phantom host.
“You have got to let go of the expectation, or the phantom hosting person, that you have in your mind.” Kari admitted to once imagining a version of herself that always had sparkling toilets, perfectly curled hair, and pie coming out of the oven right as guests arrive. But pretending perfection will drive us mad. Instead, allow people into your home, especially when you don’t have it all together. When we drop the phantom host, we release the impossibly high standard that often hold us back from hosting at all.
5. Don’t wait.
Kari has a saying: “Don’t wait ‘til you get married to get the china.” It means you don’t need to have everything in order before starting. Things will inevitably not go to plan, and that is okay. We have too great of an opportunity in hosting for people to feel welcomed, safe, and loved. Just go for it.
About The Author
Avery Ochs is a student at Dallas Theological Seminary pursuing her Master’s in Theology with a focus in Media Arts & Worship. She hopes to use creative writing to help those around her live with a clear view of the gospel.