Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church

Hospitality Ministry
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Hospitality Ministry

In all cultures, friendships are developed through hospitality. True hospitality is a spiritual ministry. In today’s busy world, a counterfeit hospitality often undermines our desire to meet this basic human need. People think, “I’d really like to have someone over, but . . .” Fear of being inadequate in time, skills, or a suitably furnished home creates in many Christians a reluctance to undertake hospitality.

The Bible suggests several attributes found in a ministry of hospitality. A focus on the needs of others rather than on one’s own is exemplified in the stories of Abraham and the three visitors (Genesis 18), the Shunammite woman (II Kings 4:8-37), and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). A willingness to share whatever one has, even if it is meager, is demonstrated in the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17), the little boy with a lunch (John 6:9), and the disciples from Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32).

A loving heart seeking relationship is exemplified by Mary (Luke 10:38) and in Simon’s home (Luke 7:36-50). Courage to risk developing relationships is seen in Abigail (I Samuel 25) and in Rahab (Joshua 2).

Strikingly little is said about skills of cooking, the possession of a beautiful home, or ability in conversation. In fact, the only reference to this is Christ’s gentle remonstrance with Martha not to “fret and fuss” about the details of preparing a meal for Him. He pointed her instead to the priority of being with Him. Thus, simplicity and service characterize the type of hospitality found in the scriptures.

Duties of the Hospitality Team

The ministry to which a person is called when he or she becomes a member of the hospitality team will include the following duties: 

Study and preparation. Development of a deeper understanding of Christian hospitality and the supporting skills requires study in a small support group. The hospitality team should meet once a month or once a quarter. It is important to spend time in caring for one another and in spiritual nurture through Bible study and prayer in order to be able to really love and care for others. 

Taking care of visitors. Organize a system for visitor hospitality which will provide follow-up for their needs as appropriate. This usually includes providing a Sabbath meal.

Caring for new members. There is a special need for a system of hospitality for prospective and new members, as well as members with special needs, which will integrate them into the fellowship of the church. This may take many forms and may overlap to some extent with other activities in your congregation. 

Coordination. You must promote and cooperate with efforts to encourage social fellowship among church members as a whole.

Responsibilities in the Local Church
, by the Church Resources Consortium, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist Church. Copyright © 1997, Revised 2002.