Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Practicing Hospitality: Hospitality and Management

Welcome to our chapter four discussion of Practicing Hospitality.  For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion.  I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts.  Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation.  May you be blessed!

Previous chapters:

Chapter Four: Hospitality and Management

So what does Management have to do with Hospitality?  What exactly do we mean by Management?
Here's what the authors have to say:  "Management skills are important for Christian women primarily because such skills are the key to extending hospitality with ease, enjoyment, and resourcefulness... Management helps us to maximize our time, energy, and resources.  Simply put, management helps us to be good stewards.  Likewise, management allows us to plan and organize events so we are free to focus on our real priority--people! "(pg 103).  The focus is on planning and organizing.  Planning implies that we are ANTICIPATING an opportunity to extend hospitality.  We know it's coming and we are EAGERLY awaiting the chance.  Thus we come to the term "planners of generosity" which breaks down to three important areas: refuse idleness, manage your home, and prepare for graciousness.

Refuse Idleness
  *The opposite of idleness is diligence.
  *Proverbs 21:5--The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
  *"Our diligent work ethic reflects that we view our home as our place of employment" (pg 105).
  *We work hard, make a consistent effort, and are industrious.
  *This is a hard section for me as I tend to this side anyway.  My personal lacking is in remembering that I have small children and the time I spend with them now will set the tone for our relationship in the future.  I have to balance my own industriousness with these two little relationships I'm cultivating.

Manage your Home
  *"... a well-managed home views hospitality as a lifestyle--not an event" (pg 106).
  *Keeping a well-managed home allows us to relax when we invite others in.  Our home will and always should be "lived in" with kids.  But there's a difference between home and chaos.
  *"Preparation for guests should never alienate your own family members by creating a sterile, untouchable home.  Your home is first for your family" (pg 111).

Prepare for Graciousness
  *"A hostess should desire to respond in graciousness at all times--regardless of the behavior of her guests... and circumstances..." (pg 112).  Remember, you control your attitude.
  *Develop reliable menus based on time constraints and group size.
  *Utilize freezer meals or items that can be prepared ahead.
  *Set up a hospitality notebook: event prep, guest info, ideas, resources, menus, and memorable moments.

I want to touch on two more points that were brought up in this chapter.  The authors talk about planning your purpose for hospitality and encouraging meaningful conversation.  These are both so true particularly for the fast-paced culture that we live in.  As we discussed in chapter one, our purpose for hospitality is not to show off, but rather that our generosity would reflect the love of Christ.  When preparing for hospitality our pray should be that our homes would be a place of rest unlike what this world has ever known.  

Encouraging meaningful conversation is a part of that.  Our lives are jam packed.  One night with friends is often all we get before we're off in a thousand directions.  Being intentionally involved in each other lives takes planning or the evening simply passes in idol chit chat.  Or worse yet, gossip.  Our prayers should be turned toward encouraging conversation that is both deep and edifying.

This week's discussion:
1. Are you a "planner for generosity?"  Consider what practical steps you need to complete in order to be prepared to extend hospitality.  Begin by evaluating the following areas:
  *Do you need to stock your pantry?  If so, make a shopping list and purchase the necessary supplies.
  *Do you know of a person in need?  If so, make arrangements to deliver a meal or ask how you can serve him.  This can also include those having babies, having surgery, caring for an elderly parent, coming home from traveling, dealing with a chronically sick child, etc.
  * Does your church have missionaries visiting in the near future?  If so, volunteer to have them stay in your home or to come for lunch after church.
  *Are your children involved in church activities?  If so, volunteer your home for a meeting location for Bible studies or other events.

2.  Set up a Hospitality Notebook.  Begin by using the sections suggested in this chapter; modify the notebook to meet your personal needs.

3.  Provers 11:16 states, "A gracious woman gets honor."  Are you a gracious woman.  What threatens your graciousness when extending hospitality?  Review the Scripture below.  Identify how graciousness is manifested in your speech, thoughts, and actions.  Pray and ask the Lord to mature you into a gracious woman, regardless of the behavior of your guests or the circumstances of your life.
Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8-9; Matthew 12:33-37; Ephesians 4:25-32; Colossians 4:6; Galatians 5:13-25; Philippians 2:3-7; Titus 3:1-7.

Next Week:
Join us next Thursday Jun 21st for chapter five: Hospitality and Your Home

Linky Party:
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog.  We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together.  Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

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