How Can I Be Hospitable?

Elders are to be hospitable. 1 Timothy 3:2

Christians are to be hospitable “without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9

Three ways to be “friendly to strangers” (CEV) that have been helpful to me.

  1. When I moved to Nashville to work with West Nashville Heights Church of Christ, I received a call from Steve Campbell. He was the preacher who followed Jim Bill McInteer at West End. He invited me to lunch. During our discussion, he told me he did this for every preacher moving to Nashville. This was encouraging and helpful. I started the same practice. When I ate with a new preacher, I told them about the luncheon at the 20th Century Christian on the first Monday of each month and the 3rd Monday Workshop meeting in the Middle Tennessee area each month. These meetings aided fellowship and cooperation with preachers in the area. Some preachers I invited started inviting new Nashville preachers to eat with them. Dale Jenkins hosts the first Monday luncheon at Green Hills Church of Christ. You can find details about the 3rd Monday Workshop by clicking the link.
  2. A church in the Nashville area invited elders, preachers, and wives from a neighboring church to the home of one of their elders each month. We ate hamburgers, talked, and got acquainted. It made it easier to work together since we’d met each other.
  3. In our first interim, in a church of about sixty-five, Gail and I visited each family soon after we arrived. We asked three questions: 1. What do you like about this congregation? 2. What would you like to see improved? 3. How can we be helpful during the eighteen months we’ll work with you? In a later interim in a church about the same size, we planned to do the same thing. After a couple of visits, we received delays and denials of proposed visits. We tried another approach. We invited ten to twelve people every two weeks to our house. Gail prepared soup, cornbread, and dessert. After the meal, they introduced themselves, and we introduced ourselves. Then we played the Ungame™. It’s an icebreaker game. Each person draws a question and answers in turn. If someone gets a question they’d rather not answer, they ask for another. We invited the “strangers” to eat with us. Most did.

These are ways I’ve experienced learning about new people in a community and beginning to find ways to work together.

What’s been helpful to you?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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