I once visited a small group at the palatial home of a deacon and his family. The trappings were upscale, but a soup kitchen would have been nicer. I felt as unnecessary as fake greenery as I tried to nervously relate with the humongous group of over 30 people. The deacon managed to pretend I was invisible, shaking my hand while peering over my shoulder. His wife merely glared at me as she delivered snacks. One word for my experience was "hostile."
Sadly, my bad small group experience is not uncommon. Many give up on church entirely when they have a bad small group experience. Thankfully, I persevered to find a better small group and eventually rose up to lead my own. It has been my experience that understanding the importance of hospitality is paramount because souls of people are at stake. Further, knowing how to show hospitality to others is imperative if we want our small groups to thrive.
What is Hospitality?
Hospitality is about welcoming guests in a friendly manner and showing genuine care for their comfort. As Arnold H. Glasow put it, "Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were." Being hospitable is the act of making others feel as though they were in their own homes—only better. It's the little things that count, and it all stems from the heart.
Why Be Hospitable?
As small group facilitators, it is crucial that we cultivate a warm environment for our guests in order to show them the love of Christ (John 13:34). Hospitality is the outflow of love and unity among our brothers and sisters in Christ in the midst of a cold and cruel world. It is saying to our guests, "You are safe here. Relax! We love you and we are not here to judge you".
Since my small group horror, I have gotten married and ...