Hospitality asks us to make room for others, and we often assume this means hosting them in our physical spaces. Yet because of certain situations—a restrictive budget, a difficult roommate, chronic illness, unpredictable work hours—we may not always have the capacity to open up our homes. But that’s not the only way to be hospitable. Here are a few suggestions:
Perhaps this looks like arranging a weekly call during the morning commute or hosting a prayer group in an online community.
Put the phone, the computer, or the work away. Come into the presence of others without the distractions that demean time together.
Meet under the pavilion at your local park, plan a picnic at the beach, bring groceries to a friend’s home and cook in (and don’t forget to clean!) their kitchen.
Make room for others when attending church—feed volunteers a bagel breakfast, sit beside a new mom and offer to hold her baby so she can participate in worship, or offer a mini-course in your area of expertise to interested members before or after the service.
Prep a double batch of dinner for new parents, a grieving family, or a college student during finals season. “Just because” is always a valid reason for meal-making.
Perhaps you typically rush to the car directly after events to avoid small talk and awkward conversation. What if you lingered and offered to listen instead—opening the door to relationship through conversation?
Offer to drive a senior citizen to a doctor’s appointment. Show a new neighbor around town while running local errands. Give a ride to a busy family’s child without expecting reciprocation.
If work is your one constant, become a force for welcome in the workplace. Organize a monthly potluck, plan the baby shower, or bring cookies every third Tuesday.
An aging grandparent, a sponsored child, or an incarcerated individual may welcome words of encouragement. This is the hospitality of time and thought through the gift of language.
Look for opportunities to invite others into what you’re already doing. Perhaps it’s a monthly hike, a lecture you offer, or the opening to your community art show. Show up in your everyday life and invite others to show up with you.
Illustration by Jeff Gregory