With rising costs of travel, and the holiday approaching, more and more people are gathering in homes with friends and family to save. As a result, hospitality etiquette has become more essential.
However, etiquette these days seem to be out the window in our culture today. Text messages and emails have replaced communication. And we even have an entire generation who expect to be catered to.
But, there’s really no replacement for genuine hospitality.
This was a tough pill for me to swallow because hospitality was difficult for me. Until I realized what God expected.
God’s Expectation For Hospitality
God expects us to be hospitable to The Body of Christ.
Practicing hospitality is what we do as believers, especially to the Body of Christ. And this hospitality should be done without murmuring and complaining.
Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
~ 1 Peter 4: 9 (AMPC)
Hospitable To Strangers
We are encouraged through scripture, not to limit our hospitality to just friends and family. Rather we are to open our home to strangers, to the poor and those in need.
Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.
~ Hebrews 13:2 (AMPC)
Hospitality Is Not Entertainment
What helped me open our home to others was realizing that hospitality wasn’t entertainment. Hospitality is an opportunity to create an environment of God’s love for people to experience.
Then when we come together, and practice hospitality etiquette, we display a mutual care and regard for one another. So whether you’re the host or the guest, there are some simple rules of engagement to make your time together fruitful.
Rules Of Engagements For The Hosts
Make Your Guest Feel Loved and Welcomed
As a host, your primary objective is to make your guest feel loved and welcomed in your home. Guest can sense if they’re truly welcomed or just being tolerated.
If you went through the effort to invite them, then make the effort in to make them feel welcomed.
Host Without Murmuring or Complaining
God loves a prompt to do it, cheerful giver. When you invite a guest over then complain about it, you’ve proven to God and yourself that you’re NOT a cheerful giver.
The Bible tells us that God is unwilling to abandon a cheerful giver. Which means, if you cheerfully invite others into your home, God will give you want you need to host them!
“Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” ~ 2 Corinthians 9: 7 (AMPC)
When we’ve followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to invite people over for a meal, who we knew were going through a difficult season, we saw God provide. He supernaturally freed up our time, and provided additional finances, so we could be a blessing to our guests.
Yes, it’s that simple, PREPARE!
We’ve always believed that when we want to be a blessing to others, find out what they need, or what they like. When we try to bless people with what we like or what we think they need, our so-called blessing becomes a burden or hindrance.
So take the time to find out what your guests like to eat, their favorite snacks, or drinks. And ask if they’ve any food allergies or special food needs. Every time we’ve asked our guest what they would like so we can prepare properly, they’ve expressed how special that made them feel just by asking.
Part of preparing for guest includes cleaning up your home, especially where you’ll be entertaining your guests. This includes the bathroom and bedroom if you’re having overnight guests. Be sure to also have clean towels and travel size toiletries in case your guest forgot them.
If you really want to wow your guest, place the toiletries on a tray or a basket. You can use something you have on hand, or you can purchase something from the Dollar Store.
Trust me, this little detail conveys to your guest the care and regard you took to prepare for their visit. Prepare the bedroom where your guest will be sleeping with clean sheets, Wi-Fi access code, snacks and bottle of waters.
I like to leave a pair of socks or slippers for our guest, especially if they are planning on staying for a few days, since we have a no shoe rule in our home.
This Wi-Fi sign is an editable PDF so you can customize it by typing your Wi-Fi user name and password. We’ve included two options both vertical and horizontal! You can download it from our Community Library under the home section! If you need the password to the library fill out the form below.
Tell Your Guest Where To Find Necessities
Let your guest know ahead of time where to find some common essentials such as: coffee, medicine cabinet, extra water, mobile charging station, where to keep coats and shoes, etc.
Allow Your Guest To Help
This is a hard one for me, because when we have guest I like to serve them. But when your guests are staying longer than 2 days, if they ask you to help with something, let them.
This will make them feel like they are contributing, and it will cut down on cleaning so you can get back to what’s most important, fellowship!
Thank Them for Coming
When your guest leave, thank them for coming to visits, and express how much you enjoyed your time together. Time is the greatest gift any of us can give to one another; so let them know how spending time with them blessed you!
Rules Of Engagement For The Guests
Don’t Show Up Empty Handed
Even if your host tells you that you don’t need to bring anything, bring something to contribute to your stay; as a thank you to the host. Here are a few ideas of what to bring. Keep in mind, your gift should vary depending on the length of your stay.
- House Plant or Flowers
- Herbs for Cooking
- Thank You Card
- Grocery Gift Card
- Pack of Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, and Case of Water (sounds funny, but if you’re staying longer than 2 days this can be very helpful to your hosts)
- Essential Oil (for their diffuser if they use one to freshen the air in the house)
- Volunteer to Treat for Dinner One Night (this will give your host a night off from cooking)
Offer To Help
Although you are a guest, it’s always a nice gesture to ask if you can help with any meal preparation or clean up. This will allow the hosts to have more fellowship time with you so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Don’t Expect Your Host To Entertain You
Remember you are on vacation, but as for your hosts, they still have everyday things to tend to. So don’t expect your host to entertain you during your entire visit. Give them some down time to take care of any business, time to rest, and re-energized so they can continue to serve you during your stay.
Gather Towel & Sheets
Before you leave, gather your bathroom towels, strip your bed sheets and place them in one pile on the floor. This will make the cleanup for your hosts easier after your visit.
See Something Say Something
If you break, damage or spill something, let your hosts know ASAP. If necessary, offer to repair, clean or replace it. They may tell you it’s ok, but it would be appropriate to offer.
Fill the Car with Gas
If you borrow the car for sight-seeing, fill up the car with gas. If you rented a car, the expectation would be the same.
Don’t Invite Other Guest
Don’t bring another guest with you or invite others to meet you there without checking with your host. Your host went out of their way to prepare for your visits, so be considerate of them first.
Upon returning home, let your host know you made it home safely, and thank them for their hospitality. Remember, you want to be welcomed back, so show gratitude for their hospitality!
In The End
Mastering hospitality etiquette will take practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become. The Bible tells us to pursue hospitality, which means we have to go out of our way to do it.
“Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality.” ~ Romans 12:13 (AMPC)
You never know what harvest can come from planting seeds of God’s love to those who need it the most through a simple invite to your home.
Have Another Hospitality Etiquette Tip?
If you have another rule of engagement for hospitality, share it with me in the comments and I will add it to this post!
~ Timberley Gray