The year is halfway over, and this may be the first time ever that I have kept a New Year’s Resolution. Since this never happens (except for the one year my resolution was to have a baby… and I was already a couple months pregnant, so the odds were ever in my favor), THIS IS A BIG DEAL.
Our goal is to host 200 people in our home in 2016. Again – it sounds like a lot of people, and it is, but this isn’t something new for us. We have always loved hosting people. It’s kind of “our thing” as a married couple (and was “my thing” and “his thing” before we met). But, hitting our goal of 200 means that it’s the topic of many, many discussions as we intentionally try to map out our calendar, extend invitations, and also create margin for last-minute opportunities.
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
As of the end of June, we have hosted 73 guests in our home. Now, some of those are repeats (like one of our favorite seminary students who spends the night quite often so as to be closer to work on Mondays). Others had never set foot in our home before.
“Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host – the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs – whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance – are the primary concern. Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.” – Note from my bible under Romans 12:13 – Practice Hospitality
Y’all, it’s so true. I don’t think a single person has come to our house expecting perfect hosts. But several have left telling us that they feel safe in our home – like they can open up and be themselves. This is why we do it.
So 73 guests is actually right on track. We have at least two big parties planned this year (which should cover about 60 people – both parties take place in the second half of the year), which means 140 guests over for dinner (or to hang out – dinner is not a requirement). We actually hosted only once in March and twice in April, because of a very heavy travel schedule, but then we had months like May (we hosted 8 different times) and June (6 times). We have had overnight guests somewhere around 10 different times… we think (we kind of lost track at some point).
If you’re looking to start hosting, check out my previous post for 5 Tips for hosting a dinner party that won’t make you lose your mind. We have also learned a few more things the hard way this year:
- Don’t host on back-to-back nights during the week. Give yourself space to regroup.
- Keep the guest list small. We have found that hosting 2-4 adults allows for the best conversations. If the group gets too big, we don’t get to spend quality time with each guest. (Kids don’t count – we just pile them, as many as will fit. And turn on a Disney movie, or set up a pack-n-play for the babies to snooze while we hang out.)
- Leave margin in your schedule for those last-minute opportunities God sends your way.
- Talk about the why – constantly. For our family, hosting is our opportunity to show God’s love to other people in a practical way.
Now we need to start planning for our next 73 guests. If you’re local and want to come eat, leave me a comment and we’ll do our best to get you on the schedule. And bring a friend. Or two. And a dessert… please (I like chocolate).