A Word to Weary Small Group Leaders

AIMEE JOSEPH|GUEST After a long day of drop-offs and pick-ups, meetings and meeting needs, opening our home and our hearts to more people is usually the last thing I naturally want to do. Yet, every time we host a small group or Bible study, I go to bed both tired and satisfied. I love quiet. I love calm. And these are nearly always on backorder in a household of three growing boys in the context of ministry. I feel like I can barely keep enough food in our pantry for our children. As such, thinking for snacks for weekly guests grows my task list, my grocery bill, and my already-overflowing shopping cart. Keeping up with basic cleaning is a challenge for me, so getting the boys’ shared bathroom in suitable condition for strangers feels like a Herculean task. However, once the people are finally gathered in our backyard, at our table, or on our couch, all those concerns flee. Once God has gathered saints and strangers in our home, I am reminded of the priority of persons in the economy of the kingdom. Sentient, living, breathing, burden-bearing souls come to our home each week to be received by other sentient, breathing, burden-bearing souls. We talk about the weather and the latest taco spot, but we also share tidbits of our stories. We multiply each other’s joys and divide each other’s sorrows. For some portion of an evening, we are reminded that there are cares outside the casing of our own hearts. In the Church, small group leaders do a lot of heavy lifting. They faithfully accommodate their homes and hearts to others. They are tempted to grow weary in well-doing, especially when it does not seem like huge things are happening week in and week out. This temptation to have drooping hands and hearts is not new to the church. In fact, the writer of Hebrews continually reminded the Jewish believers to keep going in the seemingly ordinary act of regularly meeting together.  “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25)....

A Word to Weary Small Group Leaders2022-05-04T23:18:43+00:00

Practice Hospitality

HEATHER MOLENDYK|CONTRIBUTOR PRACTICE is a word worthy of adoration. PRACTICE is a solid, steady friend. The one that shows up day after day to get all the things done. PRACTICE extends a hand of grace and a boost of encouragement. It leaves room for mistakes and allows for another opportunity to do it better. PRACTICE gives the pat on the back and reassuringly says, “You’ll never do it perfectly and that’s okay. Just do your best today!” When PRACTICE made an appearance in the Bible, I admit I was initially surprised. It doesn’t seem like a particularly holy word. I’m used to seeing PRACTICE hang out with friends like PIANO, BASKETBALL, FLASH CARDS, and PARALLEL PARKING. Nonetheless, I happily waved PRACTICE over to sit down and visit for a moment. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 (NIV) Sports are a logical thing to practice. There are rules to memorize, cardiovascular gains to make, and muscles to build in order to succeed. Music makes sense to practice. Success with scales, songs, and styles all require the dedication that only practice time can give. Most of us can envision what steps must be taken and what benchmarks must be reached in order to succeed in a variety of life-skills. But hospitality? How do you practice hospitality? In his letters to Titus and Timothy, Paul gives hints on how to build up spiritual disciplines. He tells Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). He tells Titus to “be a model of good works” and dedicates a large portion of his letter on how the older generations should train up the younger ones through example (Titus 2:7). I began to think through the examples of hospitality I have witnessed in the lives of gracious women God has placed around me....

Practice Hospitality2022-05-04T23:20:01+00:00

Love One Another Through Hospitality

It may surprise those who know me to learn that showing hospitality by welcoming others into my home has not always been a joy. When I was a young bride, my heart did not always join in with the ‘welcoming’ aspect of hospitality as I raced through preparations in a panic. Fellowship may have been at the top of my motives for having company for dinner, but running close behind that goal were insecurity, perfectionism, and the desire to impress. I gave so much effort to planning, cooking, and presenting the perfect menu—with babies and toddlers in tow—that by the time our company arrived I was too wrung-out to enjoy our guests. There are whole evenings and conversations that I cannot remember, other than the stress leading up to them. So why have company at all? Why jump through the hoops if I’m only going to end with a messy kitchen, a mild headache, and no appreciable memory of the evening? Because the Bible tells me to. A Fellowship of Love Well, not exactly. What the Bible tells me has nothing to do with anxiety and the charade driven by insecurity, perfectionism, and the desire to impress others. What the Bible tells me is to welcome others joyfully. Why? Because I have been welcomed into the blessed fellowship of God himself through his Son Jesus Christ...

Love One Another Through Hospitality2022-05-07T22:30:31+00:00
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