When I was young our family enjoyed the friendship of several families who welcomed us (all eight of us!) into their homes for meals and fellowship. I didn’t grasp the significance of those relationships until much later. Meals, laughter, and well…our lives were shared around those tables and in those living rooms.
There was a time when it would be common to prepare a little extra with the anticipation of having “company.” But this is something we seem to have lost in the church. I hear time and again in my own church a desire to see their church family more…to have more church-sponsored events for fellowship.
My answer is consistent. Yes, you need to connect with your church family more…Get involved in a small group, and invite somebody over! Set a few extra places at the dinner table. Break out the Betty Crocker box and make a cake. Brew a pot of coffee. It isn’t complicated.
HAVE PEOPLE INTO YOUR HOME.
In all honesty, I haven’t always been good about this. I am an introvert by nature and love the solitude of my castle. So God had to correct me on this.
The new minimum for Sara and I is to intentionally invite someone we are close to and someone we don’t know well (or at all) into our home every week. It stretches us. We have awkward conversations. We spend a little more on food. We have to keep the house a little cleaner. But God is allowing us to actually know and invest in people. He is giving us new friendships. He is growing our church.
He is pulling us out of our inward-focused tendencies and pointing us outward to our neighbors and our community. And now it is the new normal at our house to have guests (anywhere from 2-4 times a week).
And I love it. I never thought I would, but I love opening our home to new people. And you will too, if you’re willing to make the sacrifice, open your home and share a meal with a stranger. They just may leave a friend.