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What Is Hospitality?

Hospitality is the act of making space for guests, visitors, or strangers, and extending to them the privileges of family. In these resources, we’ll explore biblical hospitality and focus on how we can share food, shelter, and protection.

Practice Hospitality

by Chris Schoon, Director of Thrive-US

When I was serving as outreach minister at Plymouth Heights CRC (Grand Rapids, Mich.), our ministry staff spent a day with the staff from Harderwyk Ministries (Holland, Mich.) to learn from their experiences around worship, discipleship, congregational care, church leadership, and outreach. One of the first questions Wayne Brouwer, then the lead pastor at Harderwyk, asked us was this: “How does a first-grader in your Kids Hope USA program [a mentoring program we coordinated with our local public school] become an elder in your church?”

The precision of that question cut through all the technical “how to’s” and moved us to the heart of the matter. Could we imagine being a church in which the people we engaged with in our neighborhood could become our church’s spiritual leaders? And, practically, what in our culture and structures would help or hinder that type of formation?

Brouwer’s question is also at the heart of hospitality. Will we live in such a way that people who are strangers to us and to the gospel of Jesus Christ can become leaders in our churches, Christian communities, and the body of Christ more broadly?

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Helpful Resources on Hospitality

Scripture passages on hospitality and a resource list of good things to read, watch, and listen to.

How Can I Practice Hospitality?

Practicing Hospitality Individually

Practicing Hospitality with a Group

Practicing Hospitality as a Family

Points to Ponder

Explore these questions in personal reflection, at home, or in small groups:

  • How might I provide food, shelter, and protection to family, friends, and strangers?
  • How was hospitality modeled (or not modeled) in my family of origin?
  • What aspects of hospitality come easily to me? Which are more difficult?
  • How might I help to create an atmosphere of hospitality in my church, my neighborhood, and other communities of which I’m a part?


“True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”

—Kathleen Norris Tweet this quote

Explore Other Faith Practices

Faith Formation Ministries’ Faith Practices Project explores twelve Christian practices or spiritual disciplines: sabbath, gratitude, generosity, hospitality, engaging Scripture, justice and mercy, listening, celebration, prayer, wonder, remembering, and service.