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Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Hospitality

As a faith practice, 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.

Pick and choose from the ideas below to shape a worship service or plan a series. Also see our Worship Service on Hospitality and Intergenerational Activities on the Faith Practice of Hospitality.

Sermon Supports

  • Foundational Essay: Practice Hospitality
  • Bible passages
    • Genesis 18:1-8—Three visitors
    • Leviticus 19:33-34 (ESV)—Loving the stranger
    • Luke 14:12-14 (ESV)—Rethinking the guest list
    • Luke 10:38-42—Martha and Mary
  • Additional Helpful Resources from the Faith Practices Project

Music Suggestions

(We’ve indicated the songs from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts with “LUYH.”)

  • “All are Welcome” (LUYH)
  • “All Who Hunger Gather Gladly” (LUYH)
  • “Bread of the World in Mercy Broken” by Stephen McNeill
  • “Gather Us In” (LUYH)
  • “How Good It Is” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • “Koinonia” (LUYH)
  • “Psalm 133” (any arrangement!)
  • “Room at the Table” by Carrie Newcomer
  • “See How Good It Is” by Wendell Kimbrough
  • “Table of Plenty” (LUYH)
  • “Unidos/Together” (Santo, Santo, Santo 237)

Worship Ideas

Below you’ll find ideas that can be modified and woven into a worship service as a way for people to experience this practice.

  • Make room. View the video version of Carrie Newcomer’s song Room at the Table. What are some ways that you make room for everyone at your church? At your home? At your school? How might you do better at that?
  • Expand the circle. A Very Important Story about Circles is a short video that offers a child-friendly way to introduce the practice of hospitality.
  • Tell a story. Each of these picture books connects with the practice of hospitality: Everybody’s Welcome by Patricia Hegarty; The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates; All Are Neighbors by Alexandra Penfold.
  • Take Ten. During his acceptance speech at the 1997 Emmy Awards, Fred Rogers (of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) invited everyone to “take . . . ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.” Set a timer and invite everyone to take ten seconds (or longer!) to think of a time they felt welcomed, included and cared for by someone they didn’t know. What was done to make you feel that way? Take ten minutes to share those stories with each other.

Take-it-Home Resources

Encourage and equip people to continue exploring this faith practice by providing them with a resource to take home. Some ideas:

Digital Images You Can Use

Use these memes for PowerPoint presentations, social media shares, print pieces, and so on.