One of my biggest questions when I started thinking about hospitality is “How do I invite people?” — who do I invite, how often should I invite people, do I invite them for a meal or a snack, how do I ask them, small groups or big ones?
I have an overarching vision of hosting as many different people as possible. My hope is that when Graham and I think about our home, we will remember and relish our experience of building relationships in it. The thought of new friendships being forged between us and our guests, and between guest to guest, delights me.
Let’s start off with John Piper’s advice for married couples:
Plan that your hospitality include single people—small groups, Sunday dinners, picnics, holiday celebrations. And don’t make a big deal out of it. Just be natural. And don’t forget that there are eight-year-old singles and sixty-year-old singles and fifty- and forty- and thirty- and twenty-year-old singles, male and female, formerly married and never married, divorced and widowed. Think like a Christian. This is your family, more deeply and more eternally than your kinfolk.
It is very natural for us to invite other couples because we naturally gravitate to people who are like us — same stage of life — or singles with the same likes and dislikes, same personality etc.
Including singles (and not just those who immediately pop up in my head when I think about hanging out) reminds me that people who are like me are, most of all, those people who are in Christ. This way, I resist the danger of falling into a comfortable pattern of family life and forgetting to care for God’s family.
I also find that including singles in my guest list teaches me far more about generosity. Firstly they don’t have a place of their own that they can invite us back and secondly, because that doesn’t stop them from blessing me in so many other ways!