Open Homes, Open Hearts

heartLast night was the second installment of Something To Chew On. STCO is Hill City Church’s introduction to Jesus course and it’s running every Thursday night through March, taking place in the homes of different people from church.

The vision is simple :

  • Welcome people in to our homes.
  • Serve them with the best food possible.
  • Do a short talk from the Bible.
  • Discuss it over coffee.

It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this at Hill City…but we’re so glad we did! Basically the last 2 thursday nights have been immense. In fairness our guests are the real reason for why it’s worked – their openness to listen, think, discuss and debate has been mind-blowing! God is clearly doing some cool stuff through it all, with many questions being answered and faith being stirred. However, I’ve got to confess that I’m also one of the ones being challenged and changed by it all!

Why?

We live in a crazily busy world. We seem to live, work, eat and play on the move, rarely taking time to stop, think about or even enjoy life. Our homes are no longer open to others, but rather have become our private little kingdoms in which we hide ourselves away, connecting with people digitally rather than personally. Consequently, community as it was once understood has been eroded almost completely. We have lost the art of conversation, inter-dependence and co-existence. One of the things that has almost completely fallen off the grid is hospitality.

Many Christians understand hospitality as having Christian friends over for a meal, and that still happens (praise God!) However, in his teaching for the Acts 29 network, Mark Driscoll has a very interesting take on what true hospitality means biblically. He argues (convincingly) that out of all the qualifications for elders in the Bible (1Timothy 3 and Titus 1), hospitality is the only one that has an evangelistic edge to it. Driscoll states that hooking up with fellow Christians is fellowship, while opening up your home to guests who aren’t believers is hospitality. An interesting angle!

I’ve loved STCO because I believe for the first time in ages I’ve seen true hospitality in action. I’ve seen Christians open up their homes, lovingly serve their friends and guests and consequently create the perfect backdrop for the gospel to be explored. People’s guards have come down as the love of Jesus is both lived out as well as talked about. I’ve started to really grasp why Jesus did so much stuff in people’s homes and especially around the meal table. I’ve seen that open homes often pave the way to open hearts, and that when our hearts are truly open, God is truly at work.

The guys last night said how much they were looking forward to next week’s session and I’m on exactly the same page! Next week we’re the hosts and I’m relishing the opportunity to open our home to new friends, to welcome, serve, declare and discuss the beautiful news of Jesus with them.

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